2017 High School Team Tennis Season Preview
By: JOHN CANNON
(DONNA) – The Donna High tennis team finally did something in 2016 that hasn’t happened in over four years which is getting into the playoffs.
Donna High finished in the second spot in District 32-5A and was fortunate enough to compete in the Area Tournament.
Thanks to their impressive play in district, head coach Ramiro Solis and his team hoped that they could make a nice little run in Area.
But their hopes were diminished thanks to Sharyland Pioneer who defeated Donna High in the first round of the tournament.
And while their magical season ended abruptly, Donna High knew that they could match or even surpass what was done in 2016 thanks to the wealth of talent coming back.
“These kids have already tasted success thanks to last year and now want more, “said Solis. “There is a good group of kids coming back and all of them have been working hard all summer.”
“This should be an interesting year due to the fact that a lot of the schools in our district lost a lot of kids and I really like our chances of competing for the district title.”
Solis indeed likes his team’s chances since he is returning five girls and four boys in 2017.
The girls’ side is loaded with talent and will be led by senior Jennifer Garcia who was the District MVP last year and she brings an impressive record to the table.
“Jennifer has only lost once match in all three years of playing tennis and that was while she attended Donna North as a freshman,” said Solis. “She comes into this year with a ton of confidence and has been working on a lot of things to perfect her game.”
“I feel she is going to take her game to a whole another level and should do some great things in 2017.”
Two other girls who will play key roles for Donna High are Nayeli Belmares and Perla De Leon. Belmares was a second team selection in singles play and an honorable mention pick in doubles as well.
As for De Leon, she was the Newcomer of the Year and Solis feels both girls will have breakout years just like Garcia will.
“Nayeli and Perla are tremendous players and will be solid this year,” said Solis. “Nayeli is a tough player and possesses a ton of power. She has a good serve and plays well at the net.”
“Perla was our number two girl in doubles competition and plays at a high level. She has become a good little player and is going to be a key piece to the puzzle.”
On the boys’ side, Angel Rodriguez moves into the number one spot this year and Solis likes what he has seen from him this summer.
“Angel played in regionals last year in mixed doubles and put in a ton of time perfecting his craft over the summer,” said Solis. “He played against some of the Valley’s best in various tournaments and won a few matches in the process.”
“He is back and looks amazing. I played against him and can say he gave me a beating on the court.”
Rodriguez will be joined by senior Mario Cortez who brings the most experience to the boys’ side and Arnold Sauceda who is a newcomer to the squad.
“Mario is a four-year letterman and brings a wealth of experience to the table which is a good thing,” said Solis. “As for Arnold, he is a new player who can definitely compete with the big boys.”
Entering the season, Donna High is one of the favorites to win the overall team tennis title.
And even though Solis feels his team’s chances are good, he still wants them to take care of business one match at a time.
“We are going in with the approach that every opponent is a tough one,” said Solis. “Nothing is guaranteed right now and all we can do is work hard and play hard in each and every match.”
“Our goal is to stay healthy while working hard and improving as the season progresses. If we play to our potential, then we could be rewarded in the end.”