Order on the court

Captains talk tennis match against Belton and the season


Taylor Chronert

Two of the varsity tennis girls getting ready to go up against Belton in their match

Taylor Chronert, Staff Reporter

On Friday, the varsity tennis team had their home tennis match against Belton High School. Originally, they were supposed to have two games last week, but due to the rain early in the week, the first game was canceled, and they played only one, winning 13-6.

“I am pretty sure we won, but I’m not 100 percent sure,” senior and captain, Samantha Houshmand, said. “We played well, we worked as a team, and we were really good at hyping each other up and cheering each other on.”

The game was also Senior Night, and the coaches and the parents gave recognition to all the seniors and their hard work these last couple of years. 

“Being on the team for four years, I’ve seen quite a few of the seniors come and go, so being in this position is kind of crazy,” senior and captain, Nico Montoya said. “I feel like because of COVID, it doesn’t feel like we have played for four years as some of the experiences of being on the team were stripped away, but it is definitely mixed feelings.”

During the match, Montoya said that he focuses mostly on his confidence from the beginning of the game to the end. This helps him loosen up and be able to adjust to match pressure quicker.

“Personally, my serve and my forehand are my best shots,” Montoya said. “So, I’m trying to make sure that I am able to hit my targets with a certain speed on confidence from the beginning is something I focus on.”

What Houshmand loved most at the match was that towards the end, the whole team came together to cheer on the final match and the people who were playing in that final match.

“We all just sat on the ground just yelling out our names every time we got a point,” Houshmand said. “We are awesome at hyping each other up this year, and I love how we all cheered, so I think that was cool.”

As seniors and both having a leadership role, both Houshmand and Montoya can agree that they are pretty much doing the same compared to last year’s season, but have improved in some areas.

“We’ve done a lot more this year with creating squads so each captain has its group they are in charge of and team names,” Houshmand said. “With my squad, it’s called the Judge Judy squad, and I enjoy it because it gives you an opportunity to become friends with people in a closer manner since you are going to have to spend so much time with them all the time, and it helps us become closer as a group.”

What Montoya enjoys most about the fall season is getting to travel with his team and bonding with them. 

“I feel like those experiences help the team bond the most so I feel like those are the most fun,” Montoya said. “That and having the ability to have your teammates support mid-match, something unique to fall tennis.”

Out of all the matches that team has done so far, Houshmand has to say that Westwood brought the team together as they played at such a high level.

“It is a lot better to play in as you get higher matches and practice,” Houshmand said. “And you know we may not win all the time, but it’s still better because we come together as a team because they do that.  And it forces us to do it as well, and I really enjoy doing that even though we may not win all the time.”

With district semi finals right around the corner and the team going up against Round Rock and Westwood, Montoya is confident in the teams abilities of getting to district finals.

“It’s always tough playing Westwood who has won two State Championships in the past three years in the finals, but you never know what could happen,” Montoaya said. “If we are inspired enough and believe, I feel like anything is possible.”

Something that Houshmand wants the team to accomplish in playoffs as a captain is just wins and winning for the team. 

“I just want to accomplish those wins for the team,” Houshmand said. “And supporting the teammates and just being there for everyone when they need it, and just being a team player.” 

With the spring tennis season coming up next, Montoya said he’s looking forward to trying to make it to regionals one last time as a senior and his final time playing Vandegrift tennis. 

“It has been tough playing Westwood every time in semis and finals, getting third twice in spring district as Westwood runs away with the two spots that go to the regional tournament,” Montoya said. “So, I’m trying to break that disparity, and hopefully my coach and I can find a way to do that whether the event I play is singles, doubles, or mixed doubles.”

A goal that Houshmand is going to try to accomplish in the spring season, like Montoya, is to make it to regionals as well.

“I think that would be really awesome, and it would be a good way to compete in higher levels,” Houshmand said. “So, I think that’d be really fun, so that’s one goal I have for the spring season.”

Montoya feels overwhelmed knowing it’s about to be his final time playing tennis.

“I’ve seen our programs through so many different stages and have enjoyed every season for different reasons,” Montoya said. “It’s hard to think about high school ending so soon, but I just hope that I was able to leave the team in a better place than when I first got there, as that is my personal goal.”

Like Montoya, when Houshmand thinks that it’s her final season playing tennis for Vandegrift, it saddens her.

“I’m sad that it’s my final season. I mean I’m leaving my babies. I’m leaving my little kids,” Houshmand said. “Next year though, when I won’t be there, I do hope to come and support sometimes as I think it would be fun to watch them and cheer them on, and I hope they do well.”

When it comes to the future and college, Montoya has some plans to play tennis in college and is currently talking to some DIII schools, but also wants to be able to challenge himself academically as well.

“As much as I love tennis, I am keeping an eye out for my future and trying to attend a strong academic school as well,” Montoya said. “If I happen to play on a team in college though, it would definitely be a blessing.”