The fierce fourteen: Seabury Hall’s tennis girls remain resilient despite small numbers

Seabury+Hall%27s+girls+volleyball+team+has+stayed+consistent+this+season%2C+putting+great+focus+into+training+hard+and+improving+players%27+skills.+

Courtesy of Paul Albares

Seabury Hall's girls volleyball team has stayed consistent this season, putting great focus into training hard and improving players' skills.

Sarah Armstrong, Staff Writer

Led by Coach Paul Albares, a San Diego native with more than 30 years of coaching experience under his belt, this year’s girls tennis team has wrapped up the season on a high note. Although they are a smaller, younger team of just 14 players, and not a powerhouse chock full of elite competitors, the Spartan girls have stayed consistent throughout training and during matches, putting in solid effort and seeing vast improvement.

A highlight of the season for Albares has been “seeing the players come together as a unit, having the players care about each other and help each other, and having each player do their best.” This “unit” is led by team co-captains, senior Anna Ezzy and junior Lauralei Singsank. Chosen by Albares for their abilities to “hustle, never give up, and [to set] good examples for the other players,” Ezzy and Singsank serve as a positive and reliable support system for their teammates.

Ezzy, who began playing tennis as a freshman, stated that she enjoys “providing moral support” to her fellow players by cheering them on and drawing Coach Paul’s attention to any player in need. In addition, Ezzy and Singsank share the responsibility of manning the team’s so-called “phone tree.”

“If Coach Paul has a message to pass on to the team, like if practice gets rained out, I send out a text to the whole team,” explained Ezzy of the system.

“There’s a lot of communicating we have to do,” Singsank agreed.

Having a slightly more seasoned perspective of the sport, Singsank has been playing tennis for the past seven years. She too embraces her leadership role on the team with enthusiasm. “You need to be in that position where you can help the team become stronger. It’s not a position of self-betterment. It’s a position of getting the team to a better place,” said Singsank.

As a co-captain, Singsank strives “to be someone who is able to direct people, not boss them around, but getting people to do the warm-up, work as a team, and cheer their friends on.”

The daily warm-up consists of “stretching, running, or doing exercises such as suicides,” said sophomore Angela Yasutomi. Then, the girls get down to business.

According to Coach Albares, all of his practices incorporate “something technical, something tactical, some training, and competition. Each player is at a different level, so practices and drills are
adjusted.”

Yasutomi commented, “He’s intense about [the practices],” implying that each day on the courts is challenging yet rewarding. This intensity and focus in training is critical for the team’s success during official matches.

Preparing for these matches takes mental concentration and physical endurance. To get herself pumped up, Ezzy “listen[s] to Eminem or something hardcore.”
Singsank focuses on staying positive, even when the odds are slim. “You don’t want to go into a match thinking that you’re going to lose,” she said, and later added, “But there’s more to tennis than just winning or losing.”

The team hopes to finish the year with solid performances at the MIL individual tournament (April 23-25 at the Wailea Tennis Courts), and they are also optimistic about next season. With their camaraderie, hard work, and passion for the sport, the girls tennis team is ready to tackle whatever they are served.