All-Empire Girls Tennis: Vikings' Gould rewarded for perfection

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Perfection should be rewarded and that’s why Montgomery High tennis player Emily Gould has been selected large school All-Empire player of the year for the third consecutive season.

In four years, Gould never lost a North Bay League regular season match and won the conference singles title from 2009-11.

While Gould is excited about a third All-Empire honor, what has her ecstatic these days is the scholarship she has to play for the University of Portland.

“My dream was to be good enough to play Division I and now it’s going to happen,” Gould said. “I’ve always wanted to be part of a college team, so I could enjoy the camaraderie with teammates that love tennis as much as I do.”

Portland is a member of the West Coast Conference.

It’s not surprising Gould turned out to be the top high school player in the Redwood Empire. Tennis is in her genes. Her mother, Tresi, and father, Dan, are highly-rated club tennis players.

When she was four, Gould began hitting with her parents at La Cantera Racquet Club and by age 10, she was playing tournaments.

The more she played, the more she wanted to improve. That meant countless hours hitting with her mother and anyone else that wanted a workout. If she couldn’t find a hitting partner, she would be on the ball machine.

“Emily was self-motivated from the beginning,” her mother said. “She realized she had to keep improving her game to realize her dream of playing Division I in college. I never had to make her practice. She was the one that would tell me we had to get to the courts.”

Gould also understood she needed good grades to be accepted at a university. In addition to tennis practice and lessons, she found time to study and has carried 4.0 GPA since seventh grade.

Many nights, she burns the midnight oil. That’s because for the past six years, she’s traveled to Fairfield (Solano County) an average of four times per week to take lessons from teaching pro Phil Cello.

Her mother and stepfather, Dr. Kent Yinger, did the chauffeuring until Emily got her driver’s license.

Besides lessons, Gould improved her game by playing numerous junior tournaments. She’s traveled to Alabama and Texas, in addition to competing in West Coast events. At one point, she was the No. 10 ranked 16-and-under player in Northern California.

A growth spurt in high school has also improved her game. As a freshman, she was 5-foot-1 and weighed 100 pounds. Now, she’s 5-foot-4 and 115. The added height and weight have enabled her to hit with more pace. She’s also improved the velocity on her backhand.

“This is Emily’s passion and Kent and I gladly drove her to Fairfield and all those tournaments,” her mother said. “Financially, it’s also been a big commitment, but Emily was so driven to reach her goal, we’ve been behind her all the way.”

PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Emily Gould, Montgomery, senior

FIRST TEAM
Devon Brook Windsor, senior
Carly Graves El Molino, senior
Emily Greco Cardinal Newman, sophomore
Kelly Grieve Analy, senior
Julie Guillaumin Montgomery, sophomore
Fu Long Maria Carrillo, freshman
Marissa Nguyen Maria Carrillo, junior
Jacqui Payne Cardinal Newman, senior
Leah Steiger Windsor, freshman
Tressa Thomas Maria Carrillo, junior

SECOND TEAM
Frances Behmke, Cardinal Newman, senior
Buddy Burch, Santa Rosa, senior
Sierra Barnachea, Maria Carrillo, junior
Casey Carpenter, Windsor, senior
Sierra Koenig, El Molino, junior
Michelle Liang, Maria Carrillo, senior
Julie Nguyen, Windsor, senior
Cecilia Payne, Petaluma, senior
Megan Porter, Ukiah, senior
Leila Salera, Analy, senior

COACH OF THE YEAR
Sarah Wadsorth, Petaluma