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Ly, Esber connect on Charger courts
Katie Ly and Kyana Esber have been playing tennis in the same circle since the seventh grade. They just didn't know it until years later.
In middle school, both were enrolled at the Boeing Employees Tennis Club that sits along West Valley Highway in Kent. Ly had lessons on weekdays practicing her stroke consistency while Esber, also practicing the basics, played on weekends.
At the Kentridge Chargers tennis camp the summer before high school started, the girls would show up to the court ready to prove themselves, never knowing their future teammate stood right next to them.
It wasn't until they officially met on the Kentridge High School tennis team their freshman year would they realize how many times they just missed each other. Now in their senior year, these two racket-wielding, ball-smacking top prospects might join forces for Class 4A state tournament.
Ly and Esber made the varsity team their freshman year, which helped them mature faster and exposed them to a variety of skill levels.
Progressing every year, Ly and Esber helped the Chargers become co-South Puget Sound League North Division champions their sophomore year and league champions as juniors.
At state last year, the girls actually played against one another with Esber and her doubles partner knocking Ly and her partner out in the second round en route to placing fifth.
But this year, with a team record of 4-1, Ly and Esber hope to go all the way once again but together this time.
"It's a good mental sport," Esber said. "Once you get to state, it's a whole other team level."
But if the girls aren't able to play side by side this year, they'll get another chance soon enough as both have committed to the University of Washington and are planning on joining the recreational tennis team.
PHOTO BELOW: Kentridge's Katie Ly, along with teammate Kyana Esber, has helped the Chargers to a 4-1 record so far in the South Puget Sound League North Division. Michelle Conerly, Kent Reporter