By Albert Hu,
Going out with a bang, the Davis High women’s tennis team celebrated their last home game of the season with a decisive 6-3 victory against Franklin High on Thursday, Oct. 13.
Kicking off the senior night, head coach Sally Hosley briefly recognized seniors Amy Fang, Abbey Eaton, Chiara Armstrong, Rebeca Engelhard, Addie O’Hanlon, Frances Quynn and Lauren Duan during lineup, with each receiving flowers and applause.
In addition to being a symbolic goodbye to the seniors on the team, the game was also strategically important.
“[Franklin] beat us 5-4 last time [we played them]; if we can beat them [by] a wider margin like 7-3 or greater, we can move up to [become] number two in the league,” Hosley said.
Finishing their match early on, No. 1 veteran doubles pair junior Sage Furman and senior Frances Quynn won their sets 6-0 and 6-2, giving the Blue Devils an optimistic outlook towards the rest of the game.
“I was a little nervous because we played a really tough match last week, so some of my confidence dropped, but I knew we could do it, and we powered through,” Quynn said.
Further cementing the Devils’ early lead, senior Addie O’Hanlon and senior Rebeca Engelhard played in the No. 3 ranked doubles court, crushing Franklin 6-1 and 6-0.
“Rebeca had a lot of good down the line shots, they were awesome,” O’Hanlon said.
The pair was able to utilize a change in positioning, dubbed the “I-formation,” to counter their Franklin opponents’ playing style.
“We noticed they were really good at keeping away from the ball, so we tried to change [it] up,” O’Hanlon said.
As their teammates began winning match after match, the Blue Devils became increasingly ecstatic, ever closer to becoming number two in the league.
However, contention struck when sophomore Danielle Bollinger, Davis’ No. 2 ranked doubles player, started to play aggressively next to the net, feeling good about her volleys. Bollinger ended up hitting her No. 2 ranked Franklin opponent in the face after slamming a lofty ball.
“[The ball went] slam! Right in the face,” her partner Maggie Warren said.
Afterwards, the Devils played shakily, scared to further injure their Franklin opponents.
“We [would have] slammed more balls after [the incident], but we just started pushing the ball, instead of hitting through the ball […], it kind of gets in your head,” Warren said.
The pair was able to bounce back into their usual mindset after losing a game in their second set, never dropping a single game afterwards, finishing their match 6-1 and 6-1.
While not all the seniors ended up winning their games, the day ended on a high note. The Devils’ 6-3 game score officially made them No. 2 in the league.
“This means that when we play sections, we’ll be higher seeded, [meaning] we’ll play weaker teams, [giving us] a better chance of getting farther [in the tournament],” Duan said.
Shortly thereafter, the celebrations began. Seniors once again lined up to receive presents from their teammates, including gift bags, leis from sophomore Lillian Okamoto, and a swarm of heartfelt hugs.
The seniors reacted with tearful eyes and smiles stretching all the way to Mississippi.
“I’m really nostalgic, I’m sad, [but] I’m looking forward to the future. I don’t know how to describe it,” O’Hanlon said. “I’ll probably end up crying by the end of the day,” Engelhard said, finishing her partner’s sentence.
Hosley felt similarly.
“Many of these seniors have been with me for every season for four years. [While] they are going to be moving on, [I’m] super proud [of their accomplishments],” Hosley said.