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The Student News Site of Encinal High School

Horizon News

The Student News Site of Encinal High School

Horizon News

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Layzer completes dream season with tournament victory

Senior wins first-ever WACC Shoreline Tournament final
Senior+Sofia+Layzer+finishes+a+serve+against+Tennyson+on+Octtober+13.
Penelope Lindeen
Senior Sofia Layzer finishes a serve against Tennyson on Octtober 13.

After four years of playing tennis, Sofia Layzer had reached a precipice. The Encinal tennis star led 6-5 in the second set of the WACC (West Alameda County Conference) Tournament final. Layzer, a two-time WACC Shoreline Player of the Year, had reached the final the previous two years, but come up short.

“The pressure I’ve had throughout senior year has been hard,” Layzer explained. “Because of my winning streak, everyone expects me to win. But I have the thoughts that every athlete goes through: what if I lose?”

There was no “what if” this time around, as Layzer held on to defeat San Leandro’s Stephanie Lopez 7-6, 7-5 at Chabot College on November 4. The win ensured Layzer would finish with a perfect 12-0 singles record this season.

However, the final was anything but a cake walk. The first set was a back-and-forth battle which saw the final scoreline finish 6-6. The set finished with a tiebreak, 7-2 in favor of Layzer.

“The pressure going into the tournament was unreal,” Layzer said. “I’m happy I won for my team, but also for the schools who took me in when my coach or team wasn’t there for me throughout my high school experience.”

Despite going undefeated in regular season league play over four years, back-to-back second-place finishes in the league tournament left Layzer wanting more. 

“I’ve been trying to win for the last three years and I finally did it.”

The WACC Tournament takes place after the regular season, and it consists of the top 12 players in the league competing in a single elimination tournament until the winner is decided. The top four seeds going into the tournament get a bye to the second round. Layzer was seeded #1 in the bracket. Encinal’s Bonnie Banh was also invited to the tournament. The senior won her first round match before bowing out to Lopez 6-1, 6-1 in the second round.

After her bye, Layzer faced off against Hayward’s Diane Nguyen (not seeded). Layzer beat Nguyen in convincing fashion, 6-2, 6-2.

Layzer’s third round match was against #3 seed Mandy Guan. She beat Guan 6-1 in the first set, but the second set was a lot closer. Thanks to Guan’s powerful serves, which made Layzer run a lot at the beginning, Guan was able to win a few of the games. Unfazed by the losses, Layzer came through with a 6-4 set victory. This, secured Layzer’s spot in the finals for the third year in a row.

The pressure built to a climax this point. People obviously had expectations of Layzer, being the #1 seed. More than that though, she had expectations of herself.

“These mental games can cause you to throw off your game,” she said. “To combat that my teammates and friends help relieve that pressure.”

Despite being eliminated, several players stayed to watch the final, many rooting for Layzer.

“Even though we’re opponents they cheered me on and I don’t see how I possibly could’ve done it without the support of everyone.”

This first place finish makes her a shoo-in for a third-straight WACC player of the year award. Layzer was the first Encinal player to win the tournament since 2019.

Sofia Layzer celebrates with her coach, Bill Dezenzo, after winning the WACC Shoreline League Final on November 4. (Ella Tam)

 

About the Contributors
Max Millot, Sports Editor
Max Millot is a 2nd year publications staff member. He is class of 2025 and continued pursuing yearbook because he wanted to be able to heighten his skills, particularly writing. Some hobbies he enjoys are playing video games and exercising. He also loves to listen to music. He's part of the school's track team in the spring.
Penelope Lindeen is a first year publications staff member. She is class of 2026 and joined Horizon because she liked the creative aspects of it and wanted to experience the class. Some hobbies she enjoys are sewing, hanging out with friends and going to concerts. She is also part of the schools cheerleading team.
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