Staff Report After a rocky start that saw the Rocklin High varsity girls tennis team face many of the top teams in the Sacramento area, the Thunder are piling up victories now. Rocklin improved to 4-1 in Sierra Foothill League play with a 5-4 victory over visiting Del Oro on Oct. 1. “At Rocklin we want to be the best and to be the best you must play the best,” Rocklin coach Dale Eckenburg said. After dropping matches to Granite Bay, Davis, Pleasant Grove, Oak Ridge and Bella Vista, the Thunder opened SFL play with 8-1 victories over Woodcreek and Roseville and a 6-3 win over Oakmont. “Graduation and circumstances hit us hard this year,” Eckenburg said. “Losing Heather Davidson (playing for the University of Montana), Rachel Leung, Nathalie Dumm and Amanda Bruns - we needed to rely on freshmen to step in.” The freshmen have stepped up as Shelby Kubota (No. 6 singles) is 7-1 and Jessica Miller (doubles) is 6-2. Freshman Spenser Trost also has four victories. Seniors Isabel Lopez, Jessica Clarke, Cortnei Chance and Meena Sandhu have been impressive this year. Lopez has eight victories. “Our seniors have been tremendous. Great players, great people, great students and more importantly great teammates,” Eckenburg said. “It’s been fun watching the girls develop friendships and memories that will last forever.” Chance has been the biggest surprise for the Thunder this year according to Eckenburg. After not playing her first three years, Chance came out for the team as a senior. “It’s been wonderful having Cortnei play this year and watching her compete has been awesome,” Eckenburg said. “Against Oak Ridge she came over with a sore shoulder, contemplating quitting. With the shoulder only hurting on serves, I told her to serve underhand which helped with that match and five more after that.” Rocklin’s team is balanced as sophomore Stefanie Studen (No. 1 singles) and junior Jamie Nakagawa (No. 3 singles) have been solid as have juniors Amber Beebe and Becca Kinsey (doubles) and Shannon Peiffer (doubles).