Kinnick girls tennis team scores a breakthrough victory
Nile C. Kinnick’s girls tennis team made history on Wednesday, scoring its first victory over an international school squad at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan.
Led by first singles seed Joyce Cao, who survived a 2-hour, 20-minute match, the Red Devils edged the International School of the Sacred Heart 3-2 at Kinnick’s home Yokosuka base chapel courts.
“Amazing,” coach Nico Hindie said of Cao’s 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-4 victory over the Symbas’ Nina De Britto, a match that swayed back and forth over the last two sets. “The lead changed hands so many times. She [Cao] served great and pounded her ground strokes.”
“It was a great match, tough, but fun at the same time,” said Cao, a senior and third-year player for the Red Devils.
Sacred Heart and other international school tennis teams long have had their way with Kinnick and other Department of Defense Dependents Schools teams. Over the years, Red Devils players have scored an individual match victory over an international school player here and there but had never beaten one of those powers until Wednesday.
Far East tennis tournaments became DODDS-only events in fall 2004. Before then, only once did a DODDS team win a Far East tennis tournament team title: Kadena of Okinawa in 1989. Since the Far East tournament’s inception in 1978, American School In Japan and St. Mary’s and Seisen International schools have won team titles every year except 1989.
International school tennis players “are great competition and tennis is a great sport,” Cao said, “but just like any other sport, you never know what can happen on any given day and you just continue to work hard at your game.”