The San Dieguito Academy varsity girls tennis team has proven it’s a force to be reckoned with, as the team headed to the Division 1 championship for the first time in 24 years earlier this month.
After beating high-profile teams from La Costa Canyon, Vista and Rancho Bernardo, the SDA girls ultimately lost to Cathedral Catholic High School in the championships at Morley Field in downtown San Diego.
Still, through it all, the girls say they don’t regret their efforts and are taking the loss as motivation for future seasons.
“We played the best we could have played,” said junior Sophie Getty, 16. “They were just a better team. They had a few singles players that were very, very good. I think that might have been what hurt us, but that’s OK because everyone played as hard as they could.”
The team credits the three playoff matches for helping them focus on their end goal.
The girls, who were seeded first out of 16 teams in their division, were also more close-knit this year, regularly doing team-bonding activities together, like sleepovers and participating in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure together.
“I think last year we focused more on, ‘This is a doubles team and this is a singles player.’ Now, we’re all one,” said sophomore Lauren Bear, 15. “This is our team, and I feel like we’re just so much more supportive of each other.”
The girls also said they were proud of their three wins against La Costa Canyon High School, which had offered tough competition for SDA in the past.
The SDA community also gathered around the team, offering regular support by asking how matches went. The involvement was something that was more absent in past years, the team said.
“When people think of SDA, they don’t think of it as the sports school,” Sophie said. “It felt really good to prove them wrong. No one has really paid attention to girls tennis before.”
The team’s advancement to the championship follows impressive seasons from the boys team, which won its championship for the first time in more than 20 years in 2016.
Coach Joe Tomasi said he is proud of the girls, especially since he didn’t originally foresee them heading to the championship this year.
“I don’t want to say it was a total surprise where we ended up, but we weren’t expected to be there this year,” he said. “I was thinking next year we’d do what we did this year. In all my years, this is probably the tightest group of girls I’ve ever had. They’re all pushing each other and rooting each other on.”