First CIF win for NHS girls tennis in school history!

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Photo provided by One in a Million Shot

ON PACE FOR AN ACE: Senior Paula Zhang concentrates intensely on creating a fluid motion for her serve in the CIF Quarterfinals.

Eugenie Chang and Jonathan Kang

Despite a series of intense matches, Northwood’s varsity girls tennis team persevered and won its first CIF-SS Division III Championship in school history on Nov. 11. 

The team finished off their record-breaking season this past fall, scoring 12-6 against Sage Hill High School in their finals match to bring home the victory. 

Looking back, I think I just felt really proud of my team for how far we’ve come”

— varsity girls tennis captain senior Paula Zhang

“As our team kept winning, I felt more proud and confident that our team could make it to finals and win the championship for the first time ever,” varsity girls tennis senior Yuvika Satapathy said. “When our last girl won her match, I was filled with joy and excitement and our team members ran onto the court and embraced each other.”

The team won a series of four rounds before making the finals, with dominant performances including a 16-2 win against El Dorado in the first round. In the finals, juniors Kelly Zhang and Zoe Guo stepped up to the challenge and won an extended tiebreaker of 14-12, giving Northwood an early lead.

“Looking back, I think I just felt really proud of my team for how far we’ve come,” varsity girls tennis captain senior Paula Zhang said. “Starting in my freshman year, we’d never made CIF because of our insanely challenging league, so just being able to make CIF alone this year was the hardest part, since we had a lot of really close games.”

The team excelled this CIF season in large part due to their adaptability and willingness to try new approaches during competition. One of the primary ingredients for their success was experimentation, as they constantly fixed mistakes from prior defeats and searched for areas of improvement in their playing.

“We analyzed our previous matches, and during practices we tried different strategies and methods,” Satapathy said. “We switched our lineup around and had some singles players play doubles and vice versa, and that ended up helping even out our starting line up a lot.” 

Even with the championship title win under its belt, Northwood’s girls tennis team is still looking forward to even more success in future years, retaining the consistency and hard work that led them to their current success. But for now, the team is celebrating the great qualities that contributed to their victory.

“We were able to win a championship title that no other team in Northwood girls tennis history has been able to claim before because we won critical games during the season that gave us the chance to play in CIF,” Zhang said. “The determination of the whole team beat so many odds this season to not only make the CIF Semifinals for the first time ever but win that championship title!”