Focus big for Vista No. 1 singles player

Alissa Minalta has been handling her own as the No. 1 singles player with Mountain Vista High School girls tennis this season. Photo by Robert Newell
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Mitchell Woll

When she steps up to serve, Alissa Minatta focuses hard on her technique. Every part of her wants to step forward into her serve.

But with a racket in her hand, this is obviously not volleyball.

Minatta, a junior, plays tennis for Mountain Vista High School and is 3-3 on the 2011 season. Her focus and discipline is what’s helped her become the school’s No. 1 singles player.

As a seasonal athlete, Minatta also plays volleyball for Vista in the fall, resulting in mixed urges when she performs her tennis serve and her volleyball serve.

“Sometimes my volleyball habits will show up when I’m playing tennis, and vice-versa,” Minatta said. “It doesn’t seem like it would conflict, but how I toss the ball over head is similar to the motion that I do in volleyball.”

Mingling her serving motions may hurt for her performance, Minatta said, yet she still tries hard to perfect them both.

“I really focus on what we’re doing in the moment,” Minatta said. “I really focus on one thing. I keep telling myself I want to get better and work hard.”

Her focus has also helped Minatta become a two-time All-Academic player for the past two years. She plans on attending the University of Colorado at Boulder to become a teacher, a role Minatta shows certain traits of excelling at when helping younger players on her tennis team.

Still, Minatta is simply paying if forward. She said she remembers how older players allowed her to feel welcome and included when she joined the team her freshman year.

“The main thing I try to do is make them comfortable,” she said.

Starting out as a freshman, Minatta played in Vista’s No. 2 doubles. As a sophomore she was in the high school’s No. 1 doubles. According to the Mountain Vista girl’s tennis team coach, Susan Cash, Minatta’s all court game makes her the appropriate choice for the No. 1 singles spot.

“She’s able to use the entire court,” Cash said. “She has a good serve, good groundstrokes, and she has a good net game as well. She’s a very smart player. She reads her opponents very well, which enables her to strategize.”

Cash also said she’s impressed by Minatta’s composure and attitude toward tennis.

“She always goes out there and puts her best effort forward,” she said. “She’s going to win and she’s going to do it on her own merit.”

So far, Minatta has three wins this season against Chaparral, Littleton and ThunderRidge.

As a multi-sport athlete who doesn’t concentrate completely on tennis year-round like many of the other No. 1 singles, Minatta said she didn’t expect her season to progress as it has.

“I’m enjoying now, but I’m also getting prepared for next year,” she said.