Written By Claire Buehler, Series Editor
Bad sock tan lines, an endless supply of half empty gatorade bottles, and constantly checking the weather app hoping for no rain only means one thing … it’s tennis season.
The tennis season is finally here and on a roll. With over 50 girls coming out this year to play, there is now a varsity team, junior varsity 1 team, and junior varsity 2 team. Having all three teams this year, compared to only a varsity and one JV team last year, has given the players an opportunity to play against people of their own skill level. It has also given players more one on one time to focus on technique with the coaches. Varsity coach T.J. Buehler, and JV coach Andrew Garrett have done a superb job in coaching these teams to wins throughout the season so far.
While the coaches have been great, the players have been even greater. So far the varsity team has had 10 matches, and is 7-3 overall this season in the Greater Valley Conference. Luckily the weather has been decent, too, so most matches haven’t been rescheduled.
This season Esther Vega is playing number one singles, which is the top singles spot on varsity. After only playing number two singles last year, she had a big jump to number one this season. Vega says, “The level of the players at number one singles is a lot different than last year. My opponents are quicker and stronger this year, and playing them has really helped me overall.” Vega has had a great deal of wins so far this season, and last week Vega beat McMinnville’s number one singles player 6-0, 6-0. As for the rest of the singles players, they are very solid. At two, three, and four singles there is Sarah Dixon, Lesley Aguilar and Jacqueline Frawley. All of these singles players have done very well in their matches as well as contributing to wins against McNary, South Salem, and many other schools. Sadly the number two singles player this season, Sarah Dixon, will be out the rest of the season due to a fall in a match against McMinnville last week that broke her ankle. Coach Buehler says, “losing Sarah will definitely be a setback, but we’ve got some depth, so we’ll shift some players around to make due and hope that Sarah has a good recovery.”
Doubles-wise, the team this season is very deep in skill. From number one doubles, with Claire Buehler and Stevie Walker, all the way down to number four doubles with Elle Morgan and Katerina Neumannova, there has been some great matches. Stevie Walker, one of the number one doubles players explains, “this season has been a challenge for Claire and I because we have been facing lots of tough opponents, but every match is a learning experience for us.” Last week Buehler and Walker had a tough loss against McMinnville, but recovered with a great match against North Salem the next day, winning 6-0, 6-3. As for number two and three doubles, there are Rebecka Klausen and Vanessa Ramirez at two, and Maria Gomez and Tania Garfias at three. Both doubles teams have done extremely well, especially for not knowing each other previous to this season. Outside of the lineup of 1-4 singles and doubles, there is a handful of alternates that have been have been very successful this season, and a great contribution to the team. These alternatives include Cindy Guzman, Savanna Case, Riley Lindsay, Victoria Murguia, Karla Chavez, and Jasmine Johnson.
Overall, the varsity team has been doing great so far. Last week they swept two schools 8-0, so they are on a roll. There is only two weeks until the district tournament where the varsity team is ready to take on any school in the Greater Valley Conference and hopefully have some players move on to the state tournament.
As for JV 1, and 2 there has been a ton of wins overall as well, and they have been very successful. Last weekend Forest Grove hosted the first annual JV invite, and in spite of the cloudy weather and possible chance for rain, Forest Grove took first in the intermediate bracket and the beginners bracket. The JV 1 doubles duo, Belle Morelli and Emily Lester took home the championship title against Newberg.
Forest Grove girls tennis has had a great start, and there is much more to come with the upcoming matches and district tournament. “We’re looking forward to the conference tournament in a couple of weeks,” Buehler stated. “We expect to be competitive, and whatever success we have there will just be icing on top of an already successful season.” Good luck to all the players in their upcoming matches. Until next time, go Viks.