Switch in rosters cause a racket

Girls’ tennis changes up teams to beat ORH, wins 10-8


Eiffel Sunga

Left to right: Bonita Vista High (BVH) girls tennis captain, Number Two Doubles player and senior Bibiana Martinez, BVH girls’ tennis coach Joseph Sheffield and Number One Doubles Player and sophomore Paola Nirmal are huddling together before the match. They are discussing what positions they will play, a decision that ultimately determined the outcome of the game.

On Tuesday, Oct. 12 at 3:30 pm, the Bonita Vista High (BVH) girls’ tennis team won a home match against Otay Ranch High (ORH), with a final score of 10-8. This was their second to last match of the season, and their second time playing ORH after losing the first match. 

Going into this match, the stakes were high. According to girls’ tennis Coach Joseph Scheffield, winning meant they had a better chance at becoming league champions. The team arrived onto the courts with a goal in mind and an urge to win. 

Before their five minute warm-up, the teams exchanged rosters, and that is where BVH chose to make a last minute strategic decision. The team decided to put together their best singles players as a doubles teamcreating a duo that held the advantage. A singles player is a person who plays one-on-one against an opponent, while a doubles team is a group of two players who play against another team of two.  

“[We changed the roster] because Otay Ranch changed their roster and we want[ed] to maximize the amount of games we can win,” team captain, Number One Doubles Player and senior Alexa Fakhimi said. 

Bonita Vista High (BVH) girls tennis co-captain, senior Alexa Fakhimi acts at Number One Doubles Player alongside her partner. She and her partner end up winning the set after a 6-6 tie 7-1. (Eiffel Sunga)

BVH was quick to strategize and come up with a way to beat ORH, knowing that the opposition was a tough team to play. In order to win the game, BVH had to win 10 out of their 18 matches. By putting their best players on doubles teams, they would have a better chance of winning more matches.

“I was expecting my doubles to come through, because there was no way that we could have beat them in singles,” Sheffield said. “They have two top singles players for this game and I know that two of their singles players could beat all three of my singles players so I took my two top singles players, and put them in doubles because I feel like we have a better chance of winning doubles.”

This turn of events was unexpected to the players who had to be switched around, but they were quick to adapt. Number One Singles Player and sophomore, Paola Nirmal, was happy to be the “sacrifice” as she called it. She was willing to play whatever position necessary to help her team to victory. 

“I definitely wasn’t prepared for it. I got a little bit nervous at first, but I also told myself [that] I just need to beat the [third person I played against],” said Nirmal. 

Despite her initial shock, Nirmal was able to achieve her goal. She ended up winning her third set 6-0, which was just enough for her to aid the team in winning. 

Similarly, Sheffield’s plan in making the team of doubles as powerful as possible proved successful. The three doubles teams that played had won six games in total, despite easing into the new pairings established at the beginning of the game. The Number One Doubles team found communication to be difficult at first, but eventually understood the dynamic that was necessary for them to win. 

“Usually in the beginning we’re [joking around], and then towards the end we’re like ‘okay game mode,’” Number Two Doubles Player, girls’ tennis Captain, and senior Jasmine Huerta said. 

However, one particular Doubles team faced a completely unexpected and comical challenge that night. As the sun set and the sky darkened, the lack of lights on the court made it more difficult for players to see the ball. This proved to be a struggle for the Number Three Doubles team, composed of senior Isabella Scarta and senior Daniela Gutierrez, who are both visually impaired.  

“In the daylight it’s like okay for us to see and then it starts getting darker and I would look at the ball and get out of focus. I said ‘you know I’m just gonna get my glasses,’” said Gutierrez. 

Thus, the final tie breaker game played by the Number Three Doubles team had to be put on pause as Scarta and Gutierrez quickly rushed off the court to put on their glasses. In the end, the duo won the tie-breaking set.

Despite the challenges faced by the team and especially by the players who were put into unexpected roles, it all worked out for the team. Going into their final game of the season on Thursday Oct. 12, they have the best chance at winning the title of league champion, something Sheffield thanks his team for. 

“We had 10 wins and they had eight so the plan did work out, but I’m not trying to pat myself [on the back because] I had help from my players,” Sheffield said.