Boys Tennis Prepared to Slice the Competition This Year


photo Courtesy Matias Hernandez

Junior Graeson Seminoff acing a serve against Saint Augustine High School.

Sasha Iurlov, Staff Writer

With across-the-board improvements and new members aplenty, UC High’s Boys Tennis Team is thirsty for victory this season.

   “Coach Nguyen and I both believe in fostering a team that is about both enjoying tennis and always improving your game,” said Assistant Coach Janelle Aleksic. She added, “We’re both competitive and love winning, but it’s not something we want to see affect our team morale. As long as the team is having fun and learning tennis, we’re happy. We’ll challenge our players and if we win more games this year, then that’s the cherry on the top.”

   The team looks to improve their cardio endurance, footwork and serves, since last season those were the overlooked aspects of the game, according to the coaches. It was a rough year, with the record ending in 2 wins and 15 losses, according to Coach Justin Nguyen.

   This season, coaches and athletes are optimistic that they will surpass their accomplishments last season, and will put in plenty of hard work and dedication into their conditioning and practice to have a successful spring season.

   The returning players have been tirelessly training during the offseason, attending unofficial practices and improving their game with private coaches. Looking at Junior Graeson Seminoff’s bullet-like serves and Junior Logan Paulson’s terrifying one-handed backhand swings, it becomes clear that the work put in has paid off.

   The team has received many great new players, who, according to Aleksic, are “…humble and eager to learn.” She said, “For me, this is the most important thing because this means they’re coachable. They’re already working hard. I’m loving their energy and am excited for them.” Paulson said, “This season we have the largest Tennis Team the school has had in forever, with more than enough players to thrive this season”

   “I think that the new guys coming into the team this year have lots of potential and are seeking to improve. It is a combination the coaches plan to utilize for season success. There is room for improvement in everyone, because we are only as strong as our weakest link,” said Sophomore Howard Truei.

   Among these exciting new additions is Freshman Oskar Rouse, a highly ranked and competitive player. “He will give us the edge we need,” said Aleksic. Rouse is undoubtedly the best player on the team and one of the youngest. She explained that his strength comes from smart ball placement.

   “Though Oskar is a freshman, he is currently our team’s top player. I think he is so good because he can consistently put the ball in the right place, and also he has the agility and speed to get to every ball his opponent may throw at him,” said Paulson. But Rouse stated that, “…it is my footwork that got me this far. I have played all the high school top guys before…” Rouse paused, then continued, “and I have beaten them all.”

   Tennis is as much a mental game as it is physical, with one good shot or point potentially turning the tide of the entire match. “Without a strong mentality, we are bound for failure. To have a remote chance of winning, we must strengthen ourselves both physically and mentally,” said Truei.