Before each match, Hart girls tennis captain Rachel Nivichanov gives a unique pep talk to her team.
Today, she instructed her team to be like a pineapple. Bright on the inside, but prickly and defensive on the outside.
The Indians were just that on Tuesday at home, beating Canyon 15-3.
Hart won every set in doubles. Shannon Sindle and Zoe Morris won 6-0, 6-0, 6-1; Emily Thompson and Cameron Schwartz won 6-0, 6-0, 6-1 and Zoe Witherspoon and Kayla Song won 6-2, 6-0, 6-0.
Song, a senior who joined varsity this year, was especially pleased with her doubles performance and the chemistry she and Witherspoon have developed.
“(The chemistry) was pretty right off the bat because we’re both pretty hard on ourselves so we just like, we understood each other and we’re like really encouraging towards each other,” Song said.
Across the board, Hart coach Allan Hardbarger said his doubles teams have a high tennis IQ.
“I really trust our teams out there,” he said. “We play great offense and we play defense when we have to, we just have three smart teams.”
In singles, Nivichanov won her first two sets 6-1, 7-6 before substitute Delanie Blackman took over and won 6-2.
Canyon’s Amber Kashay won two sets 6-2 and 6-4.
“Our main focus is just getting better each match,” said Cowboys coach Rich Bristow. “We’ve been really focusing on the basics and keeping it simple. But today we ran into a tough opponent but hopefully we can regroup for the next one.”
As the Indians are headed into the second round of league, they’re striving to finish in the top three of Foothill League play.
“Right now we’re in a good position to make playoffs … we have to keep our focus,” Hardbarger said.
West Ranch 10, Valencia 8
The Wildcats’ Jordyn McBride swept in singles 6-3, 6-3, 6-1.
Olivia Bloome and Nicole Alvarez won all three sets in doubles for the Wildcats, 6-0, 6-0, 6-1. Audrey Kim and Emily Andrews won two sets 6-1, 6-2 and Dani Hettinger and Chase Eisenberg won two 6-1, 6-3.
“I don’t really think there was a loser today,” said West Ranch coach Dina McBride. “Our valley is very competitive now. I think the girls on both sides competed so well.”