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Notre Dame High Tennis Players Develop Skills, Friendships

Junior tennis player Laura Kastilani gives an overview of the Tigers' successful 2012 season.

[Editor's Note: The following was submitted by Notre Dame High School student journalist Laura Kastilani. Have some news at your school you'd like to share with Patch readers? Send an email to joan.dentler@patch.com.]

The 2012 Notre Dame High School Belmont junior varsity tennis season started on Aug. 20 and ended on Oct. 29. The team of sixteen players was made up of freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. Although many players were new to tennis, there were six were returning players.

The team practiced at College of San Mateo daily from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Bonnie Middlebrook coached the team. She occasionally came in last year to coach the team, but this year, she took the job of being full time coach. The NDB tigers played in the CCS League, which included Mercy Burlingame, Presentation, St. Francis, Castilleja, Mitty, Valley Christian, Sacred Heart Cathedral, and St. Ignatius. The athletes also battled these schools in the two JV Tournaments that Notre Dame sponsored. This was an all day tournament, and tennis players were ranked on the wins and losses of three games that they played that day.

The players included juniors Laura Kastilani, Emily Wang, Carly Baumann, Jackie Walia; sophomores Cameron Catalano, Christina Chu, Kayden Yang, Bridget Moriarty, Sophia La Herran, Savana Tejada, Monique van Veenandaal, Meghna Madhavan; and freshmen Samantha Cole, Nicole Sis, Jennifer Parascandolo and Bianca Remedios.

All the new players improved and progressed across the board as a freshman, sophomore, or junior.

“Tennis was a new and exciting experience that helped me grow as a person,” Moriarty said.

“Starting up tennis this year was a challenge to me. At first, I was scared that I wouldn’t get along with the other girls, and I would be the odd one out. However, as the season progressed, my skills began to improve, and I became good friends with all the girls. I was hitting better strokes than ever before, and I am very happy that I decided to start tennis this year. I can’t wait for the season to start again!” Walia said.

The team also created bonds with each other.

“As a freshman, I felt welcomed by the upper classmen, and they welcomed me with open arms. The best part of tennis was the bond between the team members. We made signs to cheer each other on, which made the season a lot more fun,” Cole said.

“We spent two hours together everyday for three months. It was almost like we were a family because we saw each other at our highs and lows, and we accepted each other as we were,” Wang said.

All in all, the Notre Dame’s junior varsity’s season was a success as a coach or as a player.

“Coaching was the perfect opportunity to share my love for the game with the Notre Dame girls. My goal was to help the girls learn and love this amazing game. Some of the girls had never played before, and it was incredibly fulfilling to watch all the girls improve and be able to compete. I thoroughly enjoyed this first time coaching experience,” Coach Middlebrook said.

Sophomore player Christina Chu summed up the season by saying she not developed her tennis skills, she made new friends.

“My goal going into the season was to get better at tennis, and I did. But I gained so much more than that. I learned a lot about myself and made so many friendships throughout the season,” Chu said.

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