Girls tennis team finds success during challenging, unconventional season


Miriam Bloom

Sophomore Corona Chen, focused, prepares to swing her racket at the ball in a home match against Lake Forest.

Christian Gluth, Sports Editor

A year removed from winning the state championship, the girls tennis team found itself with no state title to compete for and without many of their top contributors from the previous year. Despite the new circumstances from the coronavirus pandemic canceling this year’s state championship and altering the flow of the season, they still managed to contend.

The team finished third in the IHSA Sectional Championship at the Chicago DeLaSalle Institute Oct. 16. Sophomore Corona Chen finished top four in singles, and the pairing of Lilly Coe and Sara Kumar placed top four in doubles, which would have qualified them for the state championships.

The second doubles team of Alexandra Nehme and Alisha Kumar earned All-Conference honors the previous weekend at the ISL Championship.

In comparison to expectations, Corona said the team was prepared and competitive throughout the season.

“During every season, our coaches continuously reinforce the idea of intention being determined to win and bringing our competitive spirits to practice everyday, so that we can be better prepared during real matches,” she said. “This year, in my opinion, I really felt that our team exceeded these expectations.”

Corona also said that the team struggled to gel during practices because of the circumstances, such as mandated social distancing.

“It was difficult to help the team bond during practices sometimes, because everyone had to stay in their own bubbles,” she said, “but overall, everyone adapted super well and I really felt like the team was super supportive of each other on and off the court.”

Sophomore Sara Kumar also saw practice as a challenge through the season, citing canceled practices as new challenges to adapt to.

“I think one main challenge was the lack of practice I had going into the season since most of my off-season practices were shut-down because of COVID-19,” she said. “I think as a team it was challenging to acclimate to the new practice dynamics to ensure that everyone was staying safe while keeping team camaraderie.”

The team still found ways to take advantage of these challenges. Sara said that the team learned to cheer louder on the court for their teammates because fellow players were the only people allowed at events.

Sara said, “We still wanted to guarantee our teammates felt just as much support on the court.”