“We lost eight seniors last year which is tough to replace,” said head coach Judy Newman, who is also the lead tennis instructor at La Madrona Athletic Club. “We’re building. This is a building year for us.”
Newman said many of the girls are relatively inexperienced.
“For many of them, this is the first year they’ve been on a team,” she said.
However, Scotts Valley and its team of three seniors, several juniors, a sophomore and three freshmen have quickly made strides in league, beating their first two opponents, Santa Cruz and Soquel last week.
“I thought we would be weaker than we are,” said senior captain Nicole LaPorte. “I was surprised after the first two matches.”
LaPorte said the girls have fun at practice, blasting music while practicing, and occasionally dropping their racquets in favor of making the court into a dance floor.
“We create dances. We have a tribal ritual dance,” she said laughing.
Sophomore No. 1 singles player Desi Rakela, said the season has been fun, so far.
“Even if we lose, we keep getting better,” she said. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
Against Aptos on Tuesday, Oct. 1, Rakela was beaten 6-1, 6-1 by Teagan Knight; LaPorte fell 6-4, 6-3 to Aptos’s Kelly McMinn; Elana Weingold fell 6-1, 6-2 to Janika Kshirsagar at No. 3 singles and Maddie McCarthy fell to Mariner Lyndsey Mott 6-1, 7-5.
Scotts Valley’s top doubles team Anna Mari Von Haunalter and Elisa Bargetto fell to Aptos’s Jaimie Farrel and Melinda Faulk 6-3, 7-5, while Aptos also won the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles matches as well.
Scotts Valley played Harbor after press-time on Thursday, Oct. 3 and will travel to face league-favorite St. Francis High School on Tuesday, Oct. 8. The match begins at 3:30 p.m.