Del Oro takes a different approach

By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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LOOMIS — The Del Oro High girls tennis team is taking Coach Jen Isaac’s mantra “enjoy the journey” to heart this season. It doesn’t hurt that the Golden Eagles (2-1 SFL) are one of the best teams in the Sierra Foothill League. While the bid for a league title will be tough after a loss to Granite Bay Tuesday, the girls said they intend to go as far as they can, and have fun along the way. Senior Emily Becker said Isaac makes tennis relevant to her life. “She is really good about applying tennis to life — enjoying the journey in life and on the court,” Becker said. Becker grew up playing tennis with her family at the courts near their home. Her sister, Kelsey, currently plays tennis for Ohio State. A few of the Golden Eagles’ top players, including Becker and No. 1 singles player sophomore Abby Bacharach, also play in the more competitive U.S. Tennis Association. High school play gives them the opportunity to play as part of a team. “It’s been a lot of fun. I usually do the USTA thing, like Erin,” Bacharach said. “I can come here and know people have my back.” Bacharach grew up playing tennis with her father, who is a tennis coach at Johnson Ranch Racquet Club. She is friends with several of rival team Granite Bay’s players through USTA play. “I’m really good friends with some of the girls on the team. Most of the girls there are competing with me in USTA,” Bacharach said. “Since there is a racquet club right next to them, they are more familiar with the game.” Over the years she has gained a solid background in tennis from her father, but said Isaac has tapped more into her psyche. “My dad focuses more on technique stuff, but Mrs. Isaac focuses more on mental stuff — making sure I am in the right mentality,” Bacharach said. No. 1 doubles player senior Brie Simmons, who placed 17th in the 100-meter hurdles at California State Track and Field Championships last spring, agrees with Bacharach that the mental aspect of the game can make all the difference. She said this year the team has worked hard to build positive relationships with one another. “With girls’ sports, it can be pretty catty,” Simmons said. “It had to start in the beginning. We had to set a standard. We all tried to pick different partners and just get to know people.” Simmons said the camaraderie has added to the Golden Eagles’ success this year, along with their ability to take everything in stride. “I want it to be the plan to be more for what they gain out of the experience on the team,” Simmons said. “It’s so important to love where you are right now rather than dwelling on the unhappy stuff.” Simmons hopes to channel that positive outlook on her athletic career into a potential career in sports psychology. Isaac said staying strong mentally will be key because the team still has a shot at tying Granite Bay for the league title. To do that, they’ll have to beat the Grizzlies on their home turf in a couple of weeks and win upcoming matches against Roseville and Rocklin. “It was really nice to see we didn’t have all the stars, but we kept fighting and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s not over. The girls play better at Granite Bay for some reason,” Isaac said. “We could tie for league, but we wouldn’t get the No. 1 seed into sections.” Reach Sara Seyydin at