Mountlake Terrace Hawks Girls Tennis Coach Alberto Ramirez has an unusual predicament: his top player, senior Tina Liu, may be too good.
Liu, now in her fourth year playing varsity tennis at Terrace, hasn’t loss a singles’ match for the Hawks since the spring of 2013 during her freshman year. “Last year she won close to 50 percent of her set matches 6-0,” Ramirez said.
“The biggest problem for Tina and for me this year is to find a way to give her good practices to prepare her for her matches,” Ramirez explained. “She is way above the rest of the team.”
Ready or not, Liu and the rest of her Hawk teammates get their 2016 season started on Monday, March 14, when they host the Bothell Cougars at Mountlake Terrace High School. First serves are slated for 3:30 p.m.
Liu’s impressive record at Mountlake Terrace has been compiled playing primarily as the team’s no. 2 singles’ player. But with the graduation of Hawk Nicki Bouche last year, Liu will take over the no. 1 singles’ role this season, a change that doesn’t concern Ramirez.
“Tina has worked very hard during the off-season and she is looking very sharp,” he said.
Liu is not only the match day leader of the Hawks but also takes on a leadership role at squad practices, something Ramirez appreciates.
“Tina has always been very helpful to the rest of the team,” Ramirez shared. “She is always willing to help me to demonstrate shots and tennis technique to the rest of the girls. The fact that she does it in a very humble and respectful way makes her liked and appreciated by everyone.”
Ramirez hopes the expertise and example provided by Liu will help bring along a Hawk squad that still has a way to go to be competitive in the tough Wesco League.
“This year I have a very young and inexperienced team,” Ramirez explained. “However, this group of girls push each other a lot in very friendly and harmonious ways and they will improve a lot during the season.”
The squad will have to show some progress if it wants to compete against Wesco League 3A/2A South Conference teams. Perennial powerhouses Shorewood and Glacier Peak are expected to battle for the top of the standings again this year. The Grizzlies are the defending division champions, going 11-1 in league play and 14-1 overall last year; the T-Birds were runner-ups in 2015 at 10-2 in the Wesco League, 13-3 overall.
Shorewood’s overall record over the past five seasons is 57-8.
To view the entire Mountlake Terrace Hawks girls tennis schedule, click https://www.wescoathletics.com/index.php?league=3&page_name=game_schedule&school=40&sport=18.
–Story and photo by Doug Petrowski