Varsity girls’ tennis defeats Diamond Bar

Varsity girls’ tennis defeated Diamond Bar 15-3 in a home game on Thursday, Sept. 15. The match was the team’s first game against the Brahmas after a three-year hiatus.

Walnut came out ahead in all three rounds winning 6-0 in the first, 5-1 in the second and 4-2 in the third.

“I’m a little bit overjoyed because I haven’t played Diamond Bar for three years. The last time I played was JV, and then this time I played varsity,” singles player senior Julie Yuan said. “I was nervous because we didn’t really know what to expect, but after realizing we were doing well, I was excited.”

Singles player freshman Vianna Sanapanya won all three sets, while singles players freshman McKenzie Mai and junior Kelly Chuang both pulled away with two sets. Doubles players senior Jo Ann Sun and junior Florence Ao took three sets throughout the match, and doubles players juniors Vivian Lee and Sara Santos gained two sets.

Going into the her first match, singles player junior Kelly Chuang had a slow start being down 0-1, but was able to retaliate with low and fast balls to close out the set, 6-2. Chuang went into the next set with the same momentum to win 6-1 after hitting two aces and grinding out each point.

“When I’m down, I usually sing a song in my head to keep me calm and make the nervousness go away,” Chuang said. “During the match, I just kept giving her low balls and keeping the ball in play instead of some of my usual bigger shots. I had to adapt. For every player, it’s kind of different; they all have different weaknesses.”

Santos and Lee consistently out-rallied their opponent in a prolonged first set 6-4. After being warmed up, Santos sliced her way through the second set while Lee continuously hit flat down the line to win 6-1.

“We’re both not quiet at all and we both bring each other up and we never get mad at each other because we’re all like ‘Oh, it’s okay, it’s okay.’ It’s easier to play with someone you connect with,” Santos said. “If I was with someone who is quiet and doesn’t like to communicate with me, I wouldn’t do as well. Vivian communicates with me, and we are vocal, so I feel more confident with her.”

As the Mustangs led the match 11-1 by the third round, head coach Lee Shiomoto subbed out the starters for other players to end the final round.

After playing two rounds prior, doubles player junior Katherine Co finished the last set by winning the tiebreaker game 8-6 with senior Misa Smanpongse. Walnut gained four of the six sets in the final round to win the match 15-3.

“[The other team] had really good volleys, and they were good with their calls, so they were good to play with. We were slowly driving through it, but we came out with the win,” Smanpongse said. “I don’t like the rivalries between schools, and I don’t hold anything against Diamond Bar. I just think of it as another game, but it was cool that we won.”

The win extends the team’s preseason record to 7-1.

By Eric Peng, Editor-in-chief
Photo by Jeffrey Tran