Girls tennis bounces back from losses
It’s been a long time since a Parkland tennis team has started the season 1-2. So long in fact that coach Michael Hingston isn’t even sure when it was, but it definitely hasn’t been in the last 10 years. After all, the Trojans had not had a losing season since 1978, and in most of the years since, they’ve barely lost more than two or three matches a year.
After back-to-back losses to perennially tough Freedom and Easton, Parkland got back on the winning track with a 6-1 win over a tough Stroudsburg team. In singles, Parkland swept, with Murong Yao, Joanna Wu and Jessica Tseo all picking up straight-set wins.
“I was happy with the results,” said Yao after her win over Sara Denny at number-one singles. “But I felt that I could have played a little looser in the first set, because when you start a match, it’s sort of nerve-racking. The second set went so fast, so it was fun.”
In doubles, the teams of Jess Marks and Sophia Lee and Maanasi Gothoskar and Aditi Pallod both won in straight sets. Number one doubles team Amanda Freeman and Sasha Singh needed three sets to win their match. At number-four doubles, Punya Bhasin and Maya Paul dropped their first match of the season, also going to three sets.
“It’s a good win and they’re a good team, so it’s a quality win,” said Hingston. “The girls played their best today to get out of this with a win. It may have looked easier than it was. We’re a young team, so it feels good to get a win because we had two in a row where it left a bad taste in our mouth. We talked about that today, that if we could win today, we could get on a roll and gain some momentum.
“Our goal as a team is to peak at the end and we want to be that team that nobody wants to play at the end.”
The young team isn’t lacking for a work ethic. The Trojans have worked hard to improve their game and the strategy is for them to keep showing improvement throughout the season. While there are bound to be some growing pains, especially against some of the remaining tougher teams on their schedule. As the season goes on, Parkland figures to be able to stay comfortably above the .500-mark on the season.
Parkland plays at Liberty today before hosting Wilson West Lawn Saturday and then Allen on Monday. From there, the schedule takes on a tougher tone with matches against Bethlehem Catholic and Nazareth next Tuesday and Thursday, respectively. Sandwiched between those two is a make up match at Pocono Mountain East on Wednesday, giving no break between the two tough matches.
“We’ve just got to get used to playing matches, because we have so many players who are just starting out playing actual matches,” believes Yao. “Once you get used to that, you loosen up a little bit and it’s not such a big deal and by the end of the season, I think we will be able to come back and win a couple of those matches.”
While getting off to a slow start is unusual for Hingston and Parkland tennis, it also points to a bright future for the program as the younger players develop their play. The amount of young players on the team is also presenting some opportunities that the coach is enjoying facing this season.
“I love these kids,” said Hingston with a broad smile. “They’re fantastic. I’m having a blast with them and they’re buying in and working hard and all they want to do is play tennis. They worked hard all summer and they’re getting better every day and it’s a pleasure to work with them.”