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Senior serves solo

On the junior-dominated tennis team, the girls faces a challenge. For the second year in a row, a single senior provides leadership.

?I think that being a captain teaches a lot of leadership skills,? Kara Linkowski, ?08, said. ?This year I would like to enjoy my last year and inspire the team to not be so focused on winning, but supporting one another.?

Often in a team consisting of mainly upperclassmen, lowerclassmen are often neglected. However, Linkowski feels the need to make new coming freshmen feel equal to the other members of the team.

?I have really made a lot of new friends through tennis,? Elise Porter, ’11, said. ?I also like to stay in shape, become a better athlete and just have fun.?

Linkowski was introduced to tennis at the age of three, when her grandmother took her out to a court near the coast. However, she started competing competitively since eighth grade.

“My grandma loves the outdoors and especially playing tennis,” Linkowski said. “I remember her taking me out to the courts and feeding me balls whenever I visited her in Santa Cruz.”

Not only did Linkowski receive tennis instruction from her grandmother, but other family members encouraged her to learn the sport as well.

“Also my uncle would sit me down in front of the TV, when I was two, and put on instructional videos made by professional tennis players,” Linkowski said, “which demonstrated proper ground stroke techniques.”

Although Linkowski made the varsity team last year, her season was cut short. During practice in early Aug., she tore the lateral tendon in her left knee, causing her to black out on the court.

“It was so hard to watch the team and not be able to do anything,” Linkowski said. “I am definitely more cautious when I play.”

After two months on crutches and physical therapy, she was able to start conditioning for the upcoming season in March. Although Linkowski’s injury did not require surgery, she needs to wear a brace while playing. In preparation for league, she played for Clovis West High’s summer team. Linkowski was No. 2 on the ladder and continues private lessons with her teacher, Mark Bellman.

?Kara is a complete person,? George Freeman, tennis coach said. ?She is Christian, athletic, studious, pretty, she has a great attitude, a mean forehand and a vicious first serve.?

Freeman admires Linkowski’s commitment to tennis and believes this is one of the reasons he continues to coach for the past 23 years.

?I am expecting 100% effort in all practices and matches,? Freeman said. ?I am looking for us to do well in league and beyond.?

FC’s tennis team has not lost a league match since 1997, but the team broke their three-year consecutive Valley Championship streak last year.

?Our girls will do as well if not better than last years team,? Freeman said. ?They are improving every match and I expect them to continue improving all the way through playoffs.?

The tennis team played their first league game against Yosemite High and won 9-0, on Aug. 24. The girls will next host Immanuel at H Quest formly known as Dan Gamel’s Health and Racquet, on Sept. 4.

For more information match scores check out Girls’ tennis sport shorts, 2007.

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