The girls tennis program at Golden Valley has had its struggles over the years but in the eyes of Coach Josh Stimac, it’s not about the wins and losses, it’s about the process and getting his girls to learn the many life lessons tennis provides.
Even though they’ve been struggling this season, Coach Stimac had nothing but praise for his girls. They’ve had three matches so far. They opened the season with a loss to Royal but bounced back and beat a very good Chatsworth team.
They recently opened their league season against Foothill League favorite, West Ranch. Even though the Grizzlies lost, Coach Stimac had high praise for his team.
“These girls continue to excel after every match, and they never cease to amaze me,” he said.
This team isn’t the poster team for Golden Valley High School, but they do represent us well with their determination and perseverance. Coach Stimac is trying to get the team to exceed the expectations people place upon them.
“The girls are such hard workers and every year they just get better and better, and they get more competitive. That’s all I can really ask for, there is no exceeding expectations of other people, we exceed our own,” he said.
Even though they lost a few key players from last year, like Giscell Zendengas, they aren’t letting that slow them down. Their plan for the season is to win, but also get better and fulfill the potential Coach Stimac knows they have.
With key players Kirsten Azarraga and Helene Sarpong leading the team, Coach Stimac said, “These girls have worked really hard, and I couldn’t be more proud.”
From what I have seen of the team, they have exceeded expectations, all the players are using their potential to the fullest, and they have many strengths. They are determined; they are a close group and they work together well; and they seem very passionate about the game.
This team is shaping up nicely, and they have a lot to learn. Even Coach Stimac has learned a wide range of things coaching the team.
He said “The girls are very passionate about the game; they are willing to work hard, even on their off days, and I need to give them credit for that. They have taught me so many things, and hopefully they learned a few things from me as well.”
Arrizaga, who is a four-year veteran, said, “I think our consistency and determination helped us, especially in the win against Chatsworth.”
Arrizaga was a transfer from Valencia her freshman year; she always loved tennis, but when she joined the GV tennis team, she has never loved it more.
Coming from Valencia her perspective had to change.
She says, “This team has grown to be my family throughout the season and off season. Stimac has helped me drastically improve and has been an amazing coach for not only me, but the rest of the team. He improved my weaknesses and helped me love tennis more than when I started.”
According to Kaylah Fernando, Coach Stimac is like a father figure to all of his girls.
“He has helped us all when it comes to school, he defiantly tells us that our education is our number one
priority. He has always been like a father figure to us all, he gives us advice and always tries to keep us on the right track. And of course he has helped us improve in tennis,” she said. “When I started playing, I didn’t even know how to hold a racket properly but he was always there to teach and support us.”
Coach Stimac didn’t exactly know what he would get into when coaching this tennis team. Each year brought new people and new struggles, but he learned many life lessons, and every year the girls have taught him many new things about tennis.
He’s learned that no matter how bad you feel, when you love what you do, there is no such thing as a bad time. He has learned so many things, and seems to bring this with him to teach all his girls every year.
With everyone learning life lessons from the game of tennis it’s obviously not about the wins and losses but the relationships and lessons learned from each other both on and off the court.