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UC Boys Tennis on Route to Win League and Make School History

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UC Boys Tennis on Route to Win League and Make School History

Junior Charlie Openshaw hits a forehand.

Junior Charlie Openshaw hits a forehand.

Kyla Esquivel

Junior Charlie Openshaw hits a forehand.

Kyla Esquivel

Kyla Esquivel

Junior Charlie Openshaw hits a forehand.

Jane Ballard, Staff Writer

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  The UC High Boys Varsity Tennis Team hopes to win the spring season League by working together and communicating as a team.    

   “We’re doing pretty well. I think everyone enjoys playing against hard teams, because it makes us better,” commented Sophomore William Pavia.

   “Our team is undefeated, but we still have a long way to go in order to truly succeed,” said Team Captain Junior Abdul Buzeriba.

   “The team has done well on beating every team in the league so far,” said Freshman Richard Jason.

   “Tennis is a strategy sport, where you have to think about where you’re going to hit and predict where the opponent is going to hit,” explained Pavia.

   Coach Joseph Briese stated, “This season is a little different than my last two with the team, because of that fact that we were dropped to the City League, our first year in that League since tennis has started league placement based on Power Ranking; in the past, we were grouped by location of the school.” He added, “My first year we were in Western League, which was the home of toughest teams in the CIF San Diego Section. That year we won only one League match.”

   “Last year, they began to use Power Rankings and we were placed in the medium strength Eastern League. Last year, we improved with winning five League matches. This year, we have again moved down, to the City League, where teams are not as strong as in the Western or Eastern Leagues,” explained Briese.

   “My favorite part about playing tennis is winning as a team, because it shows how our work pays off,” explained Buzeriba.

      “My first goal is to win our League. That would be our first League title in a number of years. That being said, we had three freshmen and a junior transfer, who are in the top seven of our ladder. So, after seeing how much our team has improved this year, our sights have moved to a CIF title, and our goal of winning may be within reach,” commented Briese.        

   “Being captain means making choices that are best for the team and not just me. I always put the team’s need first,” commented Buzeriba.

   Team chemistry seems to be very important when playing doubles. “You need to be able to understand your partner’s moves, and also to know the techniques on how to win against the other opponents,” stated Pavia.

   On April 3, the team won against Patrick Henry with a final score of 10-8. “Patrick Henry is our rival team, so we’re pretty glad that we beat them,” said Pavia.

   “I know that I have put my maximum effort in every game set and match,” stated Buzeriba.

  “My ultimate goal for each player is, by the end of the season, to have them play their best tennis. Because of the differences between the more advanced players and the newer players, there are two different roles for me as a coach,” said Briese. “For the advanced players, it’s more about helping them more on tactics than technical. If there is something I do work on technically, I try and do it in a way that compliments their private coaches instructions. For the newer players, it’s more about helping them improve their stokes and getting them the basics about strategy,” explained Briese.    

   “I think that there is not as much pressure to win in tennis as there is in other sports,” said Junior Nick Van Daelen.

   Briese stated, “I try to keep the daily stuff as upbeat as possible. Sometimes, in the middle of the season, it is easy to have practice get to be a drudge. We will play some games and play music, in order to keep their spirits going.”

   “Preparing for games really depends on the opponent. We have 14 players on the Varsity Team and 12 on the JV; a couple of the lower varsity players also play in some of the JV matches,” said Briese. He added that some of the stronger players rest when competing against weaker teams. In tennis, the basic lineup has 3 singles players and 3 doubles team, for a total of 9 players.

   “I fully expect a League title. The big question is how far we will go in the playoffs. Based on where we stand today and barring injuries, I think we could challenge for a CIF title. That would be a great thing for the school and our team,” stated Briese.

    “This year we have an influx of new players and a number of them have already had previous tennis training. In the past, I may have had a few players who play tennis outside of the season. This year is much different. We have probably 15 players who play tennis year round. That in itself has been a huge difference from the past,” said Briese.

    “By the end of the season I want the CIF trophy and league trophy,” stated Buzeriba.

     As of press time, the team was undefeated with a  League record of 9-0, putting them at 16-0 overall. With only one match left against Valhalla High, they hope to win League and remain undefeated.   

   This the farthest the UC Boys Tennis Team has gotten in their League in a long time, as UC Boys Tennis hasn’t won League in over 20 years.

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UC Boys Tennis on Route to Win League and Make School History