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Going for gold: Varsity tennis moves up to Gold Coast League alongside new assistant coach

Photo credit: Emma Winkler
Sophomores Alex Laffitte and Oona Seppala high-five after winning a doubles match on Archer’s home courts, Barrington courts. The team is moving into the Gold Coast league next year, which means players will play different schools, including Brentwood, Crossroads and Viewpoint.

For the last six years, Archer’s varsity tennis team has remained in the Liberty League. And for five consecutive years, the players have ended their season undefeated victors. Because of this record, in the 2024-25 school year, Archer’s team is moving to a more competitive league: the Gold Coast League, which includes schools such as Brentwood, Crossroads and Viewpoint

The California Interscholastic Federation: Southern Section (CIF-SS) divides girls’ tennis teams into leagues to organize matches between schools. The Liberty League includes schools such as Buckley, Oakwood and Milken alongside Archer.

Doubles player Presley Forster (‘25) has been on Archer’s team since her sophomore year and said for the past few years, the team has won matches by a large margin. Forster will play in the new league as a senior.

“Now, we get to play more difficult matches against different schools, which is better than winning all of our matches at zero,” Forster said. “I’m excited because we haven’t been to Viewpoint or Crossroads in the past couple of years I’ve been on the team.”

Seniors Alex Martin, Audrey Chang, Annie Friedman and Elana Mayne captained the team by leading practices and modeling team spirit, according to Forster.

“I’m so sad that I’m graduating,” Martin said. “But, I’m really excited for the rest of the team and that they get to play better schools.”

This change is preceded by the arrival of Archer’s new assistant varsity tennis coach, Lina Kottutz. Her tennis career started at the age of 6 in Munich, Germany, at her local tennis club. At age 19, Kottutz was ranked 1000 in the world on the Women’s Tennis Association.

“I stopped playing when I was 19 because, in Germany, we don’t have a school system where you have so much support in athletics; we usually do sports after school,” Kottutz said. “I decided to graduate first and then go back on tour since I couldn’t be the best at school and tennis at the same time.”

She moved to Los Angeles in 2014, and, as a beach enthusiast, she frequently passed Archer while driving on Sunset Boulevard. After discovering the Spanish-style building was an all-girls school, she applied and accepted the assistant tennis coach position.

Kottutz mainly works with single players, while Head Coach Paula Feigenbaum practices with doubles players. Kottutz said her drills include practicing different-angled approach shots and hitting. Although Forster is a doubles player, Kottutz has worked with her multiple times, and Forster said her strategies are effective for the team.

“She’s given Tati and I really good advice during matches on how we should play differently in order to win,” Forster said. “In particular, when we were playing Pali, the number one team, we didn’t end up winning the match. Coach Lina told us to include more variety in our shots and not hit balls straight to the other team. She’s also made a big impact on the singles players throughout the season.”

Kottutz said finding a tennis coach is like finding a boyfriend: It’s rare to find a good one, and they often don’t last long. However, she said, over this season, there has been a positive dynamic between Archer’s players and her.

“It’s a fun process to see girls improving and working on their weaknesses, especially during matches, when I’m most excited and really cheering for them,” Kottutz said. “It’s been a fun journey to bond with them; in the beginning, some of them were new on the team or didn’t know each other well, but it’s so nice to see how they grew together over the season.”

As seniors who have been on the team for four years prepare to graduate, they reflected on their team’s role in their Archer career. Martin said being a captain has provided opportunities for friendships with younger players.

“The team has definitely been one of the defining features of my Archer experience, where I’ve really found my community,” Martin said. “When I was a freshman coming on the team, all the girls were so welcoming to me, so I’m trying to be that for younger girls. I’ve developed such close relationships with people I wouldn’t have otherwise known. We love Coach Paula and Coach Lina so much, and I’ve built such strong bonds with [Coach Paula] over the years.”

The team played in Division 2 CIF playoffs and lost in the second round 8-10 to Crossroads Nov. 3. Doubles partners Presley Forster and Tatiana Bojeczko and Beyla Patil and Parker Keston qualified for individual CIF playoffs. Both teams lost in the third round of their draw Nov. 20.

Kottutz will go home to Germany for winter break, and she plans to return to Archer to coach middle school tennis in the spring and upper school tennis in the fall.

“It’s a huge success. Most of the girls have been waiting for this,” Kottutz said. “All the girls have proved themselves. We already scrimmaged against some schools like Brentwood, and we can totally compete with them. It’s going to be so exciting next year.”

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About the Contributor
Lucy Williams, Voices Editor
Lucy Williams joined the Oracle as a staff reporter in 2021 and became the Voices Editor in 2023. Outside of journalism, she runs a Los Angeles food blog on Tiktok and Instagram under the epithet "Little Savvy." She also serves on the Hermanas Unidas club board and the DemocraShe Leadership Team and is passionate about reading and sociology.

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