By David Pan Weekly Herald sports editor
It may be a bit early to draw too many conclusions about the Lynnwood girls tennis team, but some important numbers already are trending upward for the Royals.
Led by freshman Monica Kwong, the Lynnwood singles lineup has compiled a 12-8 overall record though the team’s first five matches. Kwong improved to 4-0 with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Everett’s Kindall Gordon March 23 at Lynnwood High School.
First-year Lynnwood head coach Rob McMains, who coached the junior varsity team last season, is impressed with his No. 1 singles player. He admits coming into turnouts he wasn’t familiar with Kwong.
“It’s every coach’s dream to come in the first day of practice and have a new player they haven’t heard about. The first time she hit the ball I said, ‘Wow. This is going to be fun.’”
Kwong started playing tennis at the age of 9 and has extensive experience through the Columbia Athletic Club in Mill Creek.
“She’s just a natural,” McMains said. “She has a good feel for what to do. She knows when to go for the winners and when to allow the opponents to make mistakes. She’s a great kid. She works hard.”
Junior Cristana Borsan has started out with a 3-2 overall record.
“She has all the tools and all the ability,” McMains said. “It’s just getting that confidence. She can hit with Monica.”
A sign of the depth of the Lynnwood singles lineup is that last year’s No. 1 player, Hannah Ham, is now at No. 3.
Seniors Dalicia Tuy and Priscilla Vorng look to be the Royals’ top doubles team. The two were on varsity last season and McMains expects the duo to improve as they have more time on the court together. Tuy and Vorng played doubles last season but with different partners.
“I think they’ll do well down the stretch,” McMains said. “They are good friends. They wanted to play together.”
Two weeks into the season, the Royals were still working on getting all of their players eligible.
“We really haven’t had a full squad yet,” McMains said. “Once we get a full squad with everybody healthy and well, I think good things should happen for us.”
The singles lineup looks to be pretty well set in terms of the four players, McMains said.
“We have five doubles teams that we just set in stone,” he said. “We were mixing and matching some kids in the first few matches. So with five doubles teams set, now we can start having some challenges. … I think we’ll have some movement with doubles. It’ll make us a tougher team.”
Lynnwood is 1-4 overall with a 5-2 victory over district rival Meadowdale March 20. The Royals had 4-3 losses to Glacier Peak and Oak Harbor along with last week’s 5-2 defeat to Everett. On March 26, Shorewood blanked Lynnwood 6-0.
“I’m surprised and pleased with our results in the first few matches,” McMains said. “I really couldn’t ask for anything more from the kids. … I feel like for the most part, our matches are going to be pretty competitive once we have the full team out there. I do think we’re going to push our opponents a little more than they are used to. The kids are excited.”
That excitement started during turnouts when 47 players came out to practice. With only five courts, the numbers eventually were cut to 31.
A change this year is that varsity and junior varsity practice at the same time.
“We wanted to have a more united program,” McMains said.