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Chelmsford’s Saliba is aiming for aces on the court and in the fashion world – Lowell Sun

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CHELMSFORD When she was four, Sarah Saliba’s parents put a tennis racket in her hands for the first time. When she was eight, her grandmother gave her her first sewing machine.

Today, the Chelmsford High senior is not only the No. 1 singles player who helped the tennis team to a 5-2 start, but she is also very shrewd off the court. Preparing for a career in fashion design, she has already made about 20 dresses for herself, dating back to her college days.

Strong in her hands, Saliba, captain for two years, is an extremely bubbly, energetic and positive player on the pitch who strives to be the best leader, teammate and friend she can be.

“I was the assistant coach in her first year and I hadn’t seen her play until this year and her growth is just amazing,” Lions first-year coach Kristina Kea said. “But what really strikes me is her personality. She’s so upbeat and she’s a captain, but she also acts like a coach. She involves everyone and makes everyone feel welcome. and comfortable.

Saliba made the varsity team as a rookie, playing doubles on a team that finished 11-4, falling in the first round of the Div. 1 North tournament in Acton-Boxboro. Last year, the Lions were 5-4, which included a 1-1 record in the open tournament, again losing to AB, while Saliba played doubles. This year, she made the jump to No. 1 in singles, a big leap in the ultra-competitive Merrimack Valley conference.

May 11, 2022 - Chelmsford senior tennis player Sarah Saliba plays 1st singles match against Methuen.  SUN/Julia Malakie
May 11, 2022 – Chelmsford senior tennis player Sarah Saliba plays 1st singles match against Methuen. SUN/Julia Malakie

“It’s tough so it feels good when you win because you’re in a position where you could potentially lose a lot so you can’t take the losses hard and you just move on to the next game. I have a great support team and they always give me a boost when I play,” Saliba said. “You get more into your head when you play singles. It’s you and you have no one else to talk to. a little more pressure, but at the same time you control the point.

“It’s a good thing and a bad thing because any mistake you make is yours, so you don’t rely on anyone, but at the same time you have to carry all the weight.”

Saliba found success after jumping into singles, sporting a 4-2 record.

May 11, 2022 - Chelmsford senior tennis player Sarah Saliba.  SUN/Julia Malakie
May 11, 2022 – Chelmsford senior tennis player Sarah Saliba. SUN/Julia Malakie

She’s the kind of player who plays to win. Sometimes you have girls playing really well in practice and then a game comes up and they’re afraid they won’t lose the point. Sarah goes out there and hits her hardest shot, her best shot every time, Kea said. She plays to win and always plays her best. She also accepts all the advice we give her.

“His serves, volleys and backhand are all great. She prefers her forehand. It hits hard, with top spin and all the way. She does it all well. She likes to move her opponents all around, and she’s not afraid to hit hard or hit long.

This improvement on the field has given Saliba a lot more confidence to face not only the best of MVC, but also hopefully family members.

My brother (Ryan, a former CHS player) doesn’t play tennis (at the University of Hartford) so I think now I can probably beat him. He’s a bit rusty so I might have to challenge him to a game this summer. Normally my brother beats me, but I think now I might kick his ass, she laughs.

After graduation and the summer, Saliba moved to New York to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology, a two-year program.

“It was my grandmother who started me on this path. She’s always been very cunning. I go to her house and there are only buckets of pearls and other stuff everywhere. I learned everything from her,” said Saliba, who is also a member of the school’s National Honor Society, the National English Society and the National World Language Society.

“I don’t remember creating my first real outfit, but I do remember putting a few together with just duct tape. My first sewn dress, I was probably 11 years old. Then around seventh grade I started making my own dresses for school dances and then last year I made a party dress. My (senior) prom dress is in the works, but I’m a little late.”

And once that’s over, she hopes her styling career, like her tennis career, will be filled with aces.

The ultimate goal would be to one day have my own business, but it is far from being the case. Right now, there are so many opportunities in New York, so I’m excited to see what it brings, she said.

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