SELMA - The season for the Selma tennis team didn’t end the way coach David Cortina wanted, but with a majority of the team returning, there’s plenty to look forward to next year.
“It’s nice to see that the team is young, I’m only losing two seniors,” Cortina said. “The rest of the team is still young and a lot of them have been asking me ‘What can I do to get better?’ So that shows they want to get better for next year.”
The Bears’ 2018 season ended in an 8-1 loss to Taft High School in the quarterfinals of the CIF Central Section Division III playoffs on May 8. Selma ended the season at 8-10 overall and 3-7 in league play.
Heading into this season, Cortina said it was a rebuilding year, but the kids have potential to improve next season.
“I’m expecting them to develop that drive to win and not just come out here and have fun,” Cortina said. “You could have fun, but you need to be competitive too.”
Two of the team’s most notable returners are sophomores Simran Bains and Darpreet Dhillon, who are Selma’s No. 2 doubles teams. The duo competed in the CIF Area Championship tournament on May 11-12.
Bains and Dhillon both lost in singles competition against Taft, but keep pace with their opponents. Bains lost 7-5, 6-2 and Dhillon kept it close in the final score of 6-0, 6-4.
The mental aspect of the game is something Bains said he needs to improve on going into next year, especially in long matches.
“That’s probably the biggest thing I need to learn,” Bains said.
Bains and Dhillon lost in the first of the CIF Area tournament, but the duo wanted to use the tourney as a starting point for next season.
They said they will compete at tournaments throughout the summer. The duo will compete together in doubles and each of them will play in singles matches. The two have played doubles competition since seventh grade at Abraham Lincoln Middle School.
As for next season, Dhillon said he wants more people to join the team.
“We just need more people to come out [to play],” Dhillon said. “Next year, we need the lower rankings to be stronger.”
As for the playoff match against Taft, Cortina said the Wildcats were a good team, but his guys could’ve played better. Jake Harris was the only Selma player who won, defeating Jose Ramirez 7-5, 7-5 in the No. 6 singles match.
“He had almost a two-and-a-half hour match,” Cortina said. “He stayed in it, he wasn’t getting mad, he was my MVP that day.”
Cortina’s expectation for his team next year is to qualify for the playoffs and make a deep postseason run. The Selma coach is no stranger to leading a team to a deep postseason run; he coached two Valley championship games during the 2015 and 2016 seasons and came out on top in the latter year.
“I knew it was going to be tougher this year, especially since we got moved up a division,” he said. “The guys could keep up, it’s about them getting better on their own.”