The Del Norte girls tennis team sent its seniors out in style Tuesday. The Warriors beat St. Bernard’s 8-1 on senior night in the last home meet of the year.
Del Norte senior exchange student Marine Henry lines up a shot during her doubles match against St. Bernard’s. Del Norte Triplicate / Michael Zogg
Del Norte won all six singles matches and two of the three doubles matches.
“The team all played well in yesterday’s match,” said Del Norte tennis coach Jane Rumiano. “Stand-outs were Jordan Babich and Alexis Wright in singles. Both of them were challenged by their opponents, but they moved well, played smart, and mixed up their strokes to beat their opponents.”
Babich beat Mileena Maki 6-1, 6-0 in the No. 1 match, and Wright edged Kendall Petrusha 7-5, 6-4 in an exciting No. 3 singles match.
At No. 2, Debbie Yang got the better of St. Bernard’s former No. 1 singles player, Kate Harvey, winning 6-4, 6-1.
“She placed the ball well to force her opponent to make mistakes that cost her the match,” Rumiano said.
It was the last regular-season tennis match, and the last match at home for seniors Panhia Yang and Marine Henry.
“Being a senior is different. You are doing things for the last time,” Panhia Yang said. “Like today was my last regular season match. Things like that I appreciate more this year than in other years.”
Both seniors won their matches on senior night. Panhia Yang beat Yvonne Chen 8-3 in No. 4 singles and Henry topped Cying Lu 8-4 in No. 6 singles.
“They’ve both had a very positive impact on our team,” Rumiano said.
In doubles, Panhia teamed up with Debbie Yang against Petrusha and Leticia Resendez for an 8-1 victory.
“Debbie and Panhia were a force to deal with in doubles, as they worked well as a team, with one of them setting up the other to win most of the points,” Rumiano said.
Henry and Raili Makela beat Lu and Cherry Li 8-3.
Panhia Yang has played tennis for the Warriors for three years.
“I never thought of playing for the school,” she said. “I didn’t think I was good enough for it. I just played for fun. I was kind of forced to play my sophomore year because we didn’t have enough players, so I decided to try it.”
It ended up being enough fun to keep her on the team for the next two years. She particularly likes the team atmosphere.
“Playing sports involves the whole team. You have to help one another,” Panhia said. “I like it a lot.”
That attitude has been a boost for the whole team.
“Panhia’s work ethic and enjoyment of learning how to be a better tennis player has set an example for the entire team,” Rumiano said.
Henry is a foreign exchange student from Belgium. It was her first year playing with the Warriors, and her first time playing tennis since she was about 12 years old.
“I just wanted to play tennis,” Henry said. “I was thinking about playing a couple different sports, like volleyball, but tennis is my favorite sport.”
She is glad that she decided to join the tennis team.
“Playing tennis was really awesome because I met a lot of people,” Henry said. “Nice people, nice coach, nice girls and nice players too. It was fun for me.”
Henry made the season a little more fun for the rest of the team, too.
“Marine’s humorous antics have added a lot of fun to our practices,” Rumiano said.
The Del Norte tennis team begins the postseason Saturday, and even though it is officially the host team, the Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 singles tournament will be played in Fortuna.