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State Runners-Up: Girls Tennis Team

“Together on 3. 1, 2, 3, TOGETHER!”

That was how the girls tennis team finished its season this past in Sunday. From pre-season in August all the way to the Division II State Finals, this team was a cohesive, unified group. By leaning on each other, it fought adversity and overcame teams with arguably more talent. In victory and defeat, this team handled itself with grace and sportsmanship, and always believed in each other.

The post-season progresses much like a mountain climb. The higher you advance, the more difficult it becomes to take that next step. The closer you get to your goal, the higher the stakes become. As a team, the Vikings nearly marched its way right to the top. It entered the state tournament as the highest seeded team and played like it throughout. Alas, the final surge to the top is the most difficult part. The team lost to Lexington three courts to one in the state finals, bringing an end to its season.

A lesser team would not have been able to do what the Vikings did. In the face of defeat, painfully close to glory, this team never forgot its identity. There was no blaming, no backstabbing, no calling out. This is a unique group, and not even a loss in the state finals would damage that special bond.

This is a team that has known each other longer than most others. Every person competing in the state tournament was also on the team last year. Having already spent an entire season together, the girls have developed much stronger bonds with each other, which have extended beyond the tennis court. The day prior to the state semifinals, they all gathered for dinner and movie night to watch “The Avengers.”

That kind of rapport is not something many groups will ever establish. It takes steady leadership as  that exhibited by seniors Meera Gopinath, Annie Lavin, Deepa Manda, and Neela Nataraj. The tennis team would not have scaled such great heights without their guidance and strength.

As they pack their rackets, the responsibility shifts to the young nucleus of this team, which gives hope for continued success in the future. There is talent on the team, especially DII Doubles State Champions, Hannah Wexner’14 and Andrea Ballinger’15, along with Meghana Vallabhaneni’14, Katherine Guan’15, Libby Sirak’15, and Makela Hughes’16. The pieces are in place for another run at a team title next year, if the team can once again develop the same level of chemistry it had this season.

Accolades and trophies play a role in athletics, and the 2012 Vikings came away with their fair share of hardware: an MSL team championship, DII doubles state champions, and DII state runners-up. All in all, a remarkably successful season, even if it was a little bittersweet at the end. The team may not have finished where it would have liked, but it sure finished the same way is has been all season long: Together.

Written by Andy Li’13 and Nikhil Patel’14
Photos by Nikhil Patel’14


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