By the end of the year, the South Tahoe girls tennis team seniors want to say they made state three times. This year, they are already off to an undefeated start.
“We would love to go to state, especially for our senior year,” senior player Ashley Tarwater said.
The girls won their third straight match at home on Thursday, defeating Fallon 13-5. The Vikings also beat Incline and Damonte Ranch last week, and credit the strong start to good team chemistry.
“There’s definitely a bond between the girls. We’re all really close and feel like family,” senior player Kayla Lyons said.
The team seniors — Lyons, Tarwater, Maggie Lee, Lissie Stewart, Grace Bronken and Sarah Jobbins — are the heart of that chemistry.
“We all really understand the fundamentals of this sport,” Lyons said.
Good coaching is behind the fundamentals.
Jenny Clark returns for her sixth year as head coach of the Vikings. During that time she has taken them to state twice — which she hopes will be three times if all goes according to plan this year — and fostered the team’s three-time All-Academic environment.
A new assistant coach and former South Tahoe player, Chela Wahl, joins Clark this year. Wahl competed in Division I state doubles for the Vikings in 2007 and graduated in 2008. She recently graduated from Santa Barbara and is in the process of applying for medical school.
Together, Wahl and Clark have built an incredibly strong doubles program this year. Across the board, the South Tahoe doubles teams have been nearly undefeated so far.
Again, it all comes back to chemistry.
“All of our doubles teams are really good friends so we can play with each other really well,” Tarwater said. “That’s really important knowing what everyone is thinking.”
“It’s kind of like having a twin sister,” Tarwater said of the cohesive relationship with her doubles partner.
Clearly it’s working. On Thursday, the South Tahoe doubles teams won eight of the Vikings 13 points.
The No. 1 doubles team of Bronken and Jobbins went 6-0, 6-1 and 6-0 for three points. Tarwater and Lyons also looked sharp with their two 6-2 victories. Doubles players Abi Killibrew, Mikayla Heffner, Natalie Allen and Catherine Baghdikian all played strong doubles to add to the point onslaught.
No. 1 singles player Maggie Lee didn’t let Fallon score a single point against her. She chipped in three team points as she went undefeated 6-0 in all her games.
Singles players Lissie Stewart, Kylee Lyon and Caia Enriquez also all added points to the Vikings’ win with strong tennis.