Central Tennis clinches berth at State finals

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Central Tennis clinches berth at State finals

Diego Lopez, Staff Writer

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Focus, dedication, relentless training, perseverance, and heart: these are the elements that
make up our Central Catholic 2018-19 tennis team. The season officially began in January, when the team competed in the Dominion Winter Classic Tournament and since then has competed in various tournaments across San Antonio, achieving victories through the hard work and dedication of its players. As the State Tournament in Waco and the end of the tennis season approaches, we look back at the course of the season, the student athletes who make up the team, and the process and mindset it takes to build a winning team.

If you’re not familiar with the sport of tennis, it is a sport of speed, stamina, and strength.
Opponents, whether playing solo or in a team of two, position themselves on opposite sides of a tennis court, whether concrete, gravel, or even grass. Players take turns alternating between
serving and receiving, where points are scored when one’s opponent does not properly return a shot (i.e. ball goes out of bounds, hits the net, etc). Scoring begins at 0-0, or “love all” and goes 15, 30 and 40, with the first player to exceed 40 points the winner of the game. A set is
comprised of a series of games, often being six games where a player must win by at least two.
These sets make up the match, where the winner of the match wins the entire competition.

Tennis, unlike some other sports, heavily relies on form. Many elements of the forehand swing, backhand swing, serve or volley must be refined and perfected to ensure control and success when hitting the ball. Games are quite fast paced; the players must react quickly to shots made by their opponent and be swift on the court. At the same time, tennis is indeed a mental game; any good player needs technique combined with strategy to succeed in a match, which requires understanding of one’s opponent, the game of tennis itself, and foresight. Therefore, it is by constant repetition and training that players attain the skills and strength necessary to dominate on the courts. “I think that the team has done a great job this year,” said Coach Rudy Bonilla. “At practice, we teach the team to play aggressive, smart tennis and I’m very proud of the effort that they’ve all put in. Their commitment to the game shows in their improvement throughout the season.”

The Central Catholic tennis team has competed in several matches this season: First the
Dominion Winter Classic Tournament from January 25-26, the Jay/Stevens Invitational
Tournament from February 14 16, the Harlan Invite Tournament on March 21, and finally the
district tournament on March 29. All of these tournaments have seen wins for the Buttons in both singles and doubles matches. At the Jay/Stevens Tournament, we saw each doubles team win 1 game, junior Andreas Newman-Caro win 3 matches, and Noah De Luna win all his matches to ultimately win the singles championship title.

A central aspect of forging a winning team is fostering cohesion and cooperation amongst the
team members. Despite variety in age and experience, the team gets along quite well, always
supporting one another, helping to refine each other's game, and enjoying some playful banter along the way. Junior Andreas Newman-Caro, a veteran tennis player as well as football player, attributes his dedication to training and his experience to his success on the court. “It really just comes down to putting in the work every day and working hard every day” says Andreas. Of course, every good team needs some young blood. Junior Estevan Calvillo is a newcomer to the sport, and had never played tennis before nor been on a team, yet he is optimistic about his progress and plans to play the following year. “When I came to practice at the start of the season, I really was a true beginner. Yet I feel that I’ve already learned a lot from coach, my teammates, and from experience.” While much of the tennis season is complete, the apex and final challenge awaits: the state tournament, which is to be held at the Waco Regional Tennis Center. Hopefully, through their grit, tenacity, and faith, the team can pull off another win for Central Catholic.