Vazquez Holds Big Roles as a Senior
Diana Vazquez played her first sport when she stepped on the tennis court as a freshman at East Haven. During the past four years, Diana has seen her game grow by leaps and bounds, leading the senior captain to some prominent spots in the Easties’ lineup this season.
In her freshman year, Diana was encouraged to play tennis by a few of her classmates who competed for the East Haven girls’ tennis team. She decided to attend a team meeting later that week.
Diana found the sport interesting and felt that everyone was inviting. When she joined the team, Diana was amazed to see her new teammates smashing the ball across the court, but felt even more shocked to see how much fun she was having playing tennis.
“As soon as I stepped on the court, I saw how inviting everyone was. I couldn’t picture how people were making the ball fly across the court,” says Diana. “It moves pretty quickly. The days just fly by. You don’t notice how much time has gone by because of how fun it is.”
Diana mostly played ghost singles matches in her freshman season, while occasionally seeing some time at No. 2 doubles. After her sophomore season was canceled, Diana returned to the Yellowjackets with a full-time spot in the lineup as a junior last spring.
Diana was now playing No. 4 singles for the Easties. It was quite a challenge for Diana to take the varsity stage in her first match back after a year off. However, Diana understood the responsibility that she now had and was determined to get better as the season went on.
“I was put into the lineup the first game of the season after missing sophomore year due to COVID-19,” Diana says. “I was put into this spot, and I had to do well enough to help the team. But I got great experience every match I played.”
In the summer leading up to this season, Diana spent a lot of time practicing with fellow senior Carole Tapia. With a year under her belt, Diana knew what to expect and wanted to be just as good as the players she had seen at the varsity level. Diana also wanted to be prepared for a potential rise to the No. 1 singles position.
“I practiced a lot during the summer with Carole. We were out on the court before the season even started,” says Diana. “I just wanted to get as good as the people I’ve seen at No. 1 singles and all the varsity players.”
Diana made the right decision in preparing for a shot at No. 1 singles. The senior served in that role at the beginning of the season for the Yellowjackets. At first, Diana was surprised about how good her opponents were. However, as she played each match, Diana enjoyed being East Haven’s No. 1 singles player.
“Singles No. 1 is a great position for anyone to be in,” Diana says. “Making the jump from No. 4 singles to No. 1 in a season is really shocking to me. It was nerve-wracking at the start. But as the season went on, I really wanted to play No. 1 singles.”
Diana finished the season pairing up with fellow senior Karlee Lynn at No. 1 doubles. On April 27, the duo won a three-set battle against a team from Lyman Hall, rallying to take the match by the score of 5-7, 6-3, 7-6. Diana appreciates how all of her teammates were watching and cheering them on during the match. Diana says that win made her feel proud to represent her team and calls that victory one of her favorite moments with the Yellowjackets.
Diana also had an opportunity to represent East Haven as a captain with senior Camryn Lendorth and junior Abby Brooks this season. Diana had always looked up to the captains while coming up through the program. She felt happy to lead the Easties as a senior and fill the shoes of the leaders who came before her.
“It was good. It gave me a chance to be a leader to everybody and help mentor everybody on the team,” says Diana. “It gave me a new experience as a leader. I’ve always looked up to the captains and thought they were the best and most responsible.”
Following graduation, Diana will attend the University of Connecticut, where she will pursue a degree in animal science. She is hoping to continue playing tennis at the club level.
Diana never expected to be playing tennis when she set foot in East Haven High School four years ago. Four years later, Diana knows what it means to be a Yellowjackets’ tennis player and feels that competing alongside her teammates made the entire experience worthwhile.
“It takes someone who puts in a lot of effort and someone who cares for their teammates,” Diana says. “I would do anything for these people.”