The team practiced at West High in preparation for its first matches on the road. Coach Danette McDaniel said that even with construction ongoing around the west Tracy campus, the team counted on the tennis courts to be finished in time for the team to host its first home match against Manteca High.
“I was told that they would be ready (Tuesday), and we were going to come out here regardless,” McDaniel said. “We just knew they would be ready.”
Players have watched the bare outline of the Jaguars’ athletic venues take shape and have looked forward to the first home match ever since the school year started.
“I was extremely ecstatic,” freshman Aloukika Shah said. “There’s a sense of pride in that, too. We actually have a place we can call the home of Kimball High’s girls tennis team.”
There won’t be any mistaking who calls the courts home. Kimball’s blue-and-orange color scheme dominates the courts and the surrounding surface.
“We love the colors,” Krishna Sankara said. “Since it’s all new, we feel special that we’re the first freshman team to play on these courts. I’m really proud that we’re here.”
Though a victory in terms of campus completion, the match against Manteca ended as a loss for Kimball, with Manteca winning five of six singles matches and the lone doubles match.
Kimball’s Andrea Candala took the one win for her team, 8-6, against her Manteca opponent. After that round, players went back to the courts for another round of eight-game sets, where scores weren’t recorded.
McDaniel said her players, all freshmen, show promise, especially as they’re now in matches against more experienced players.
“They want to be out here,” McDaniel said. “Some of them have never played before, ever. That’s the challenge: to get these girls to be competitive.”
The Jaguars won their first match Aug. 28 at Lathrop High, 3-2, against another new tennis program. Three days later, they took a 5-0 loss to Weston Ranch.
McDaniel said the Weston Ranch contest included three matches that went to three sets, including a couple in which Kimball’s freshmen played against juniors.
Before she considers whether the home-court advantage helps her team, McDaniel first wants them to get used to the idea of hosting matches.
“Eventually, it does make a difference in terms of comfort level, feeling that these are our home courts,” she said. “I was telling them, these are your home courts — you’re responsible for these courts. You’ve got to make sure everything is in order when a team comes.”
• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or email@example.com.