Tennis team focused on a repeat performance
Rahul Parikh | Sports Editor
They’re not satisfied.
After winning a state team title a year ago the Mason Comets girls tennis team wants another championship.
Six players return from last year’s’ state title team. Standout Juniors Ananya Aggarwal and co-captain Sanjana Reddy, give the Comets the depth and experience to repeat as champions.
Reddy believes the Comets are capable of winning another state championship.
“I think that there is no doubt we have the ability to return to state,” said Reddy. “It’s looking to be a good year with everyone we’ve got and we have the talent to do it.”
The Comets are ranked number one in the state with a 14-1 record and are the team to beat in the Greater Miami Conference. Following a season opening loss against perennial state power Hathaway Brown the Comets have rattled off 12 straight wins, including impressive victories over Dublin Jerome and Magnificat. Aggarwal said the victory over Magnificat was the biggest win so far this year.
“We had a super tight match against Magnificat where we won closely despite not playing our best lineup, which gives us confidence that we can take them down at state, because they are our biggest competition,” said Aggarwal.
Mason junior tennis player Ananya Aggarwal returns a shot in a match earlier this season. Aggarwal and the Comets are currently one of the top
ranked teams in the state of Ohio.
The Comets’ hot start is even more impressive since they are dealing with the absence of a key component from last year’s team. State qualifier and conference champion Jamie Kim elected to bypass this season. While it can be a challenge to replace a player of Kim’s caliber Reddy believes the Comets will be able to step up and fill her shoes.
“Jamie was obviously our best player last year and losing her was tough, but we know that we will be able to produce similar results without her because of our talent and experience,” said Reddy.
While the Comets have a goal of winning another GMC title, the team feels their stiffest competition in their efforts to repeat as state championships comes from the deeper teams throughout the state of Ohio. Aggarwal says that the team’s biggest challenge to overcome will be playing teams from other parts of Ohio such as Magnificat, and keeping composure under pressure at the state tournament.
“Our biggest challenge this year is going to be handling pressure at state and bigger matches” said Aggarwal. “If any team can do it though, it’s us because we are experienced under pressure and know what it takes.”
Despite having no seniors on the team the Comets aren’t lacking in the leadership department. Junior co-captains Emma Kruse and Sanjana Reddy have assumed the role of leading the team and providing much needed support for their teammates. Junior Megan Li believes the leadership provided by the junior captains has helped the team stay consistent and focused.
“It’s amazing how even when you have a bad match or don’t play your best, Sanjana and Emma and the entire team is there to support you, and make us feel so much better,” Li said.
A return trip to state and another state title will be dependent on the Comets learning from their mistakes. Reddy believes the Comets need to be resilient even when faced with setbacks.
“My freshman year we lost state, which was tough but we were able to analyze our mistakes and learn from what we did wrong, which helped us in winning state last year because we understood and acknowledged our errors,” said Reddy.
The Comets roster is bolstered by talented underclassmen like Raina Chada and Annie Kruse, who could play an instrumental role in the Comets’ efforts to repeat as champs.
“The freshman and sophomores like Annie and Raina have really been awesome so far this year,” said Aggarwal. “If they continue to keep up their strong play, and the rest of us do our job, there’s no limit on what we can accomplish this year.”
Photos by Tanner Pearson.