Varsity Tennis Stomps McNeil 10-0 in District Semi-Final

By Catharine Li, Assistant A&E Editor

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  • Driving forward with his racket, Aashish Dhanani ’22 makes a forehand return to his opponent. Though his partnership with Gina Mepham ’23 in mixed doubles was only created at the beginning of the fall season, they’ve come to make a good team, prevailing in their match 6-0, 6-0.

    Photo By Catharine Li

  • Following through on a cross-court forehand return, Jessica Lu ’21 works to move her opponents around with expansive full court coverage. Partnering with freshman Dana Kardonik, their individual consistencies would gel in their favor, winning 6-0, 6-0.

    Photo By Catharine Li

  • Leaping to poach the ball at the net, Nicolas Pesoli ’21 extends with a backhand volley to put away the ball. This season marks the first year that Pesoli has played for a high school tennis program.

    Photo By Catharine Li

  • Crouching to meet the ball for a backhand drop shot, Aadhi Raja ’23 looks to control the point by shifting the rhythm of the game. With his partner Marko Mesarovic ’23, they’d go on to win their doubles match 6-0, 6-0.

    Photo By Catharine Li

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Hands clasped tight through fence holes, cheers erupted as the varsity tennis team watched as the final matches sealed a 10-0 overall victory over the McNeil Mavericks in the district semi-final on Monday, Oct. 19. 

Fronting a seamless team showing, a 6-0 lead in doubles ending just shy of an hour solidified the tone for the rest of the afternoon. Groundstrokes flew deep with high, heavy topspin, unrelenting in their goal to induce opponent error and open up the court for full, blanketing coverage to capitalize on opportunities and dictate the point by way of a crash to the net to pounce on short balls. Swift to the toes and never a backpedal to the heels, players kept their eyes straight ahead, preempting ball trajectory to maintain cool, controlled agility over every movement. Partnerships between Sachchit Sivaram ‘21 and Zeyad Elchouemi ‘22 and Jessica Lu ‘21 and Dana Kardonik ‘24 would anchor 6-1, 6-0 and 6-0, 6-0 wins. 

“We had a very quick start [in] doubles which is always great for momentum,” Sivaram said. “Everyone [on] the team knew what was required of them and we went out there and got the job done. My partner and I have built a great chemistry on and off the [court] and we continued this by taking charge and controlling the match from the get go.” 

A dynamic balance of offensive firepower and an equally punching defensive wall shaped gameplay built around the grit to fight for each point. To remain in a security afforded by the baseline would not suffice, as the athletes confronted the parameters of their comfort zones by tapping into a diverse arsenal of skills so routinely drilled upon in practice to mend holes in the game. With scores of 6-1, 6-0 and 8-4, Marko Mesarovic ‘23 and Evelyn Castellani ‘24 came out on top in singles. In mixed doubles, Aashish Dhanani ‘22 and Gina Mepham ‘23 secured a 6-0, 6-0 win. 

“The kids took care of business, which was the game plan, and it was good to see them execute it. They work hard and they buy into our culture and program,” head coach Travis Dalrymple said. 

Looking ahead to the biggest stage, the Warriors will embark on the road to the state championship starting with a bi-district match in the next week.