Golden Valley High School

Preview: 2017 Golden Valley girls’ tennis

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.

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