15 West Valley View, Avondale, Arizona, Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Tolleson girls tennis team starts 11-0
by Casey Pritchard assistant sports editor
A year off from competition might have been just what Tolleson’s girls tennis team needed.
While most of the Tolleson Union High School District’s schools were on hiatus because budget cuts forced the cancellation of the 2010-11 season, the Lady Wolverines were working hard on the court as a club team. That effort has paid dividends this year, as Tolleson is off to an 11-0 start. “It’s because of what we did last year in the club, because they played over the summer, because the other schools are starting over,” coach Scott Schall said. “We did things to keep the program going, keep them motivated. By playing, they have that experience where a lot of schools are playing with rookie players. Everybody is starting over where we have something in place.” Tolleson’s 11-0 record has it ranked fifth
in power points. With just three matches to go, the Lady Wolverines are in prime position to make the state tournament, but they’re trying not to get too far ahead of themselves.
it keeps us motivated to stay like that,” said Susie Soto, the team’s No. 4 player. “We just want to stay level headed. We need to get through first, the rest of the season, not get too cocky now, but then state. We want to keep it where we’re at, don’t let it get to our head.” Tolleson’s success can be credited to the hard work its athletes put in during the cancelled season. The team’s No. 1 player, Pankhuri Kharbanda, can attest to that. “We played through the summer and
we haven’t stopped,” Kharbanda said. “We made a club last year because tennis was cut and the varsity got together this summer and we’ve been playing ever since.”
“It feels amazing [to be undefeated] but
of a simple statement he drills into his players: “All tennis players are stupid.” “We keep stressing over and over, hit the ball in, they’ll miss for us,” Schall said. “You don’t have to win when they’ll miss and we win that way. Be the wall, be consistent, don’t be stupid, hit the ball in the court and let them miss.” In addition to Kharbanda, Diaz and
Soto, Alma Sanchez is the No. 3 player. Ronae Matriano plays at No. 5, and Jordan Valenzuela is No. 6. Kharbanda’s strength is her forehand and her consistency, while Diaz is good at serving and volleying. Soto has good endurance and footwork, while Matriano never gives up. Valenzuela has improved footwork as well.
worked to their advantage, and the record certainly shows that. Tolleson has beaten Westview, La Joya and Copper Canyon three times each, while Central and Sierra Linda are its other two victories. “They know we work hard, we condition hard, we do things we need to do to be successful,” Schall said. “We’re not the best team in the state by any stretch of the imagination. We don’t have the skill level to compete at state, but because we’re playing other beginners we look better.
Schall pushes his girls hard, but it has
“In the state perspective, we’re nowhere close to the Xaviers, the really good teams at state. But I am massively proud of them for working hard and keeping their focus, fighting through matches.”
While the girls are undefeated, the boys are on the opposite end of the spectrum, having yet to win a match this year. The boys had a club team last year as well, but of the 10-15 athletes who consistently participated, most of them were seniors and have graduated. “This year I have a lot of good athletes,
Schall works the girls hard to condition them in practice, making sure they’re built for lengthy matches. It has paid off. “Conditioning is so important because a single match can go for two hours,” Soto said. “A few games back I played for two hours straight, non stop, rallying, rallying, rallying. I was so glad we condition for 30 minutes every day because I know the other girl was dying and I pulled it out.” Schall also teaches his girls to make sure they keep the ball in the court and not worry about hitting winners all the time. “One thing that coach said to us is
you’re a wall,” No. 2 player Celina Diaz said. “It doesn’t matter if you can hit the hardest, it matters that you keep it in play.” Schall’s reasoning for that is because
but guys tennis and girls tennis is different,” Schall said. “Girls are willing to hit soft and put it in play, guys want to knock the cover off the ball and it’s about hitting a winner. It’s just taking more time for the guys to understand it’s not how hard you hit, but how often you hit the ball in.” The boys’ No. 1 player is Ernest Delacruz, while Chance Nehring plays at No. 2. No. 3 is Ulises Zaldivar and No. 4 is Esai Coronado. Rounding out Tolleson’s lineup at Nos. 5 and 6 are Eric Tsang and Francisco Chavez, respectively. “I’ve got some really good athletes,” Schall said. “Next year, if they play over the summer, we’ll be solid. It’s just that experience more than anything else.” Tolleson’s next girls match is Thursday at 3:30 p.m. when it hosts Betty Fairfax. The boys play at Sierra Linda April 17.
Casey Pritchard can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
4 ROOMS $
Pre Spray No Charge (Over 200 SF
considered 2 rooms.
View photo by Ray Thomas
PANKHURI KHARBANDA serves for Tolleson Thursday against La Joya. Kharbanda, as the No. 1 player, has helped the Lady Wolverines get off to an 11-0 start.
Servicing Far West Valley No Hidden Charges!
Jim Cooper 623-872-8552
Call for an appointment
We Also Do Tile!
We take credit cards
26 YEARS EXPERIENCE
CHARGE MAY APPLY.
CHARGE MA APPL
| Page 2
| Page 3
| Page 4
| Page 5
| Page 6
| Page 7
| Page 8
| Page 9
| Page 10
| Page 11
| Page 12
| Page 13
| Page 14
| Page 15
| Page 16
| Page 17
| Page 18
| Page 19
| Page 20
| Page 21
| Page 22
| Page 23
| Page 24