Girls’ tennis beats Los Gatos in first match since April

Ethan Chen, Editor-in-Chief and Webmaster

In their first official match in nearly a year, the Palo Alto Vikings cruised to a 6-1 victory over Los Gatos High School on Wednesday during an away game at Los Gatos.

Wednesday’s game struck back against Paly’s losing record versus Los Gatos last season, when the team played Los Gatos twice, losing 3-4 and 6-1.

The varsity girls’ tennis team played against Los Gatos High School Wednesday, scoring a 6-1 victory overall. Tennis is Paly’s first sport to return to its season, and the match was the first that a Paly team has played in almost a year. “It’s the pandemic,” coach Andy Harader said. “Nobody saw it coming, it just happened. And we adjusted to it. … It’s great to see everybody out enjoying it, having a good time.” Photo: Ethan Chen

“It [the game] went well,” coach Andy Harader said. “Los Gatos has always been a powerhouse in our league. … This was a real nice win for us.”

The team’s victory marks Paly’s return to sports as the first match the school has played, out of any sport, since April of 2020. Although the atmosphere is not the same as in previous seasons, players still have the chance to get off of Zoom and get back to playing sports on the field.

“I think it’s very different from a normal environment, but it’s decently organized, so that’s nice,” junior Iris Li said. “I get to play as a team, that’s always fun.”

Health concerns have also prompted new regulations for players. Tennis, specifically, requires players to don masks and each use separate tennis balls per round, in addition to social distancing.

“Basically we just have to wear masks,” senior Rachel Owens said. “And we’re not supposed to touch the same balls. Tennis is already pretty socially distanced.”

These concerns have caused a number of players to choose to abstain from this season, including many team’s top players, according to Harader.

“There are a lot of top girls on teams that are not playing,” Harader said. “Kamila [Wong], our number one, is not playing. And then Anna [Yakimenko] dropped off the team. It’s the same with all of them, all the teams.”

Viking junior Iris Li, sophomore Riya Dedatta and freshman Erin Li all procured victories in singles. Sophomore Lauren Wong and senior Gwyn Wong, sophomores Malika Bowers and Sophia Austin, juniors Agnes Mar and Paisley Annes and seniors Noelle Burwell and Myra Xu took victories in doubles.

These absences may affect the strength of teams across the league, including the Saratoga Falcons, which Paly faced off against on Thursday.

“I don’t know what to expect,” Harader said. “I think we’ll do fine. I was really happy with the way our singles players played today. Our No. 1 doubles team was pretty solid, too, and it looks like our No. 2 is doing well.”