A year ago, they sat quietly next to each other in the back seat as they drove to the finals of the girls’ tennis competition in the City Section, and an awkward tension suddenly separated the sisters.
Joanna and Julianna Galindo also didn’t talk to each other at breakfast that morning, silently eating bagels and eggs. Later in the day they would face each other on opposite sides of the net, two Marshall High stars playing for the singles championship.
“We just tried our best,” Joanna said, “to pretend we didn’t know each other.”
Impossible. They grew up sleeping in single beds in the same room. So they woke up next to each other on the morning of that 2021 championship – and, incredibly, woke up the same way a year later last Wednesday to play each other again in this year’s singles final.
“At the start of CIF, we didn’t really think about playing each other,” junior Joanna said. “Once we got to the final, it was just Wow.
The car ride to the finals this year was a little less uncomfortable, benefiting from the experience lessening the stress of the Galindo sisters. Their mother, Joy, said they said to each other, “I’m going to beat you.”
For the second year in a row, Joanna came out victorious, taking the title 6-3, 6-3 after winning 6-4, 6-4 in 2021. However, when the sisters chuckled as they discussed their experiences, it was clear there were no thrills. No awkward Thanksgiving dinners.
“I wasn’t really disappointed,” Julianne said. “… I know I gave my best and worked really hard on every point and every game. But Hannah was just crazy successful.”
Their legacy may stretch far beyond Marshall, as both are widely classified as four-star tennis players. This summer, Julianna placed 22nd in the USTA Under-16 standings in Southern California, while Joanna placed 41st in the under-18 standings.
The Marshall High sisters often get comments, Joanna said, that they are next Serena and Venus Williams. And they have already decided: Julianne, the more balanced of the two, is Venus, and Joanna’s aggressive style is more like Serena’s.
And yes, they are very close, but they also have a seismic difference in attitude.
“Julianna is too calm for me,” Joanna said.
This made them terribly suitable pair partners, despite their collective talent. In their last match together five months ago, Joanna got mad at Julian every time her little sister missed a point. But whatever she said, the two laughed at the memory, it was nothing. too much private.
And Julianna tried to use Joanna’s fire against her last Wednesday, knowing that her older sister hates to lose even one point.
“I try to piss her off and run after every ball,” Julianne said.
And yet Joanna, in turn, knew that her anger tendencies wouldn’t work against her sister, trying to keep her cool and clear her head. After Julianna took a 3-2 lead in the first set, Johanna came back to win 6-3, keeping her foot on the gas to take the second set and the singles crown.
Both have lofty goals, both looking to play at NCAA Division I schools on the West Coast, opening up the opportunity to face each other again at the college level. But for now, at least, Julianne’s school goal is simple.
“Once my sister leaves high school and graduates,” Julianne said, laughing, “I hope I can finally win the CIF people.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.