Tennis Team Serves Up The Fire

The Bishops School’s Tennis Team heads into California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) states with high energy and huge momentum.

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Coach of the Varsity Tennis Team Matt Copland said, “They [the players] all want to work, everyone knows their position on the team, they know where they can contribute and how they can help someone else. They are all good role models for each other.”

David Lai, Staff Writer

“I’m invincible, I win every single game…I’m unstoppable today” are just some of the lyrics to the song “Unstoppable” by Sia. Coincidentally, they describe The Bishop’s School’s Varsity Tennis Team, unstoppable as they went into California Interscholastic Federation(CIF)’s knockout stages undefeated in late April. 

Coach of the team, Matt Copland, wrote in The Bishop’s Locker Room: “The team finished the regular season 13-0 and 6-0 in league” and recently beat Torrey Pines High School (TPHS) in the San Diego CIF semi-finals to advance to the finals. Sadly, they lost to Canyon Crest Academy (CCA) in the finals. Despite the loss, they boast a superb record heading into CIF states. 

As the team was undefeated up until the CIF finals, many players and the coach described this season as incredible. Coach Matt said, “Considering I’ve never gotten to this position [CIF semi-finals] before undefeated, there’s always been a loss here or there in the middle against a good team, to get to this point undefeated has been remarkable.”Aden Dorros (‘23), one of the team captains, said, “I think we’ve taken care of business when we need to and just the whole team has played really hard. Super successful, but there’s still work to be done.”

Why have they been so successful this season? Rex Harrison (‘23), the other team captain, commented, “I have personally seen improvement among the guys, super happy with that. We have been really consistent with our performances… This year we’ve come back motivated and [it] has driven us to play well in all of our matches.” Carlton Schell (‘24) paid tribute to team leadership: “We have the support of our two great captains and they work hard to create some team synergy and bring us up even when we aren’t playing the best or feeling the greatest.” 

On the topic of leadership, Coach Matt said, “Aden and Rex have taken other players under their wing and really helped them whenever they needed it… the kids get along and like each other enough to spend time with each other.” Aden also said, “Coach Matt has been a great leader, really open to Rex and my advice, it is a collaborative effort”. He added, “ I love him, he’s like me, he’s confident, we know what we are doing, and any opportunity I get to talk to Coach Matt about tennis and other teams is a great memory”. 

Furthermore, on training and effort, Garrett Eastman-Pinto (‘24) said that despite losing some big players last year “everyone’s managed to take the initiative and step it up this year…[everyone] has a tennis mind all the time, it represents the attitude of tennis at this school.” 

Driven, confident, perseverant, wise, fired-up, and passionate, are some of the adjectives players used to describe their team. Garret said, “It takes a lot of perseverance even when you know you aren’t playing well to keep battling and fighting and get a result.” Carlton concurred, “Especially in the more recent matches we have been as a team [we have been] pretty focused, and in all of our matches, we worked to improve on what we can and if we do something right to continue to do it.” Garret remarked later, “Coach Matt has a lot of wisdom and has a lot to offer after every game and I think his advice is something really valuable to every member of the team. I think his wisdom is at the forefront of what we have managed to achieve this year.”

On top of that, Aden said, “Every one of these kids has shown me that they are willing to compete 100%, willing to fight and work hard on Bishop’s court and their own courts.” After their back-to-back wins against CCA and TPHS in one week, Coach Matt said, “[This] really showed them that they could do it and every match since has been one-sided, there’s a progression of people getting better, willing to listen more, learning certain things that they need to do”.

The two captains Aden and Rex have developed a strong bond with one another. Aden said, “Rex and I have known each other since we were six, good friends forever. Last year Rex’s mom had this photo of us when we were 6 and she had us recreate the photo at the final match last year”. 

The Ojai Tennis Tournament is held in Ventura County every year and this year will be the 121st event. Both Coach Matt and Rex described the experience as a wonderful memory. Rex said, “Last year was where Coach Matt brought three players to the tournament. [It is a] big high school tournament for kids all across California… I enjoyed it a lot. It was good to bond with the coach through that experience. We were all staying near each other and going out to dinners with each other, playing a lot, and practicing with each other the whole day.”

The seniors and Coach Matt left valuable advice for everyone. Coach Matt said, “Do it if you love it. If you don’t like the idea of going out there and playing, it’s not worth it. You have to love the process of putting the time in to get better, competing is the fun part, and the grind is putting the work in.”

On the other hand, Rex said, “If you want to get on the team, get started before [tryouts], be good in making sure you are practicing a lot, vocalize how interested you are in tennis to coach and kids you know who are on the team. That gets kids interested in you as well as making you sound more interesting to the team, and Coach takes some of that into account.”

What’s more, Aden said, “ I went through the first three years of high school not playing as much as I could, not giving 100% effort, and giving all my time to it. If you want to be good you have to put in every second of every day. Don’t take it too seriously, it’s a tough sport, you’re by yourself out there super alone, what makes high school tennis great is that you are with a team. Try and enjoy it, compete hard, and have fun.”

In the end, despite losing to CCA in the CIF San Diego Finals, Rex and Aden both reflected on this season and high school. Aden said, “This is a sick team that is winning and winning every match, playing so well, and I think that they don’t get a lot of recognition.” Besides, Rex said, “Super grateful for the team this year, everyone’s been super nice…I’ve definitely really enjoyed my high school tennis experience, super glad I’ve done it.”