A year ago, they were sitting quietly next to each other in the back seat, riding to the City Section girls’ tennis singles final, when an awkward tension suddenly separated the sisters.
Johanna and Julianna Galindo didn’t speak to each other at breakfast that morning either, and ate bagels and eggs in silence. Later that day they would stare at each other on opposite sides of the net, two Marshall High stars playing for a singles championship.
“We just tried our best,” Johanna 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 improbably woke up exactly a year later last Wednesday to play each other again in that year’s singles final.
“At the beginning of the CIF we didn’t really think about playing against each other,” said junior Johanna. “When we were in the finals, it was just ‘Woah’.”
The drive to the finals was a little less awkward this year, the benefit of experience easing the tension for the Galindo sisters. Her mother, Joy, said they would tell each other, “I’m going to hit you.”
For the second year in a row, Johanna emerged victorious, claiming the title with a 6-3, 6-3 win after winning 6-4, 6-4 in 2021. However, as the sisters giggled as they discussed the experience, one thing was clear — no hard feelings. No awkward Thanksgiving dinners.
“I wasn’t really disappointed,” Julianna said. “…I know I put in all my effort and worked really hard for every point and every game. But Hanna just did it incredibly well.”
Her legacy could extend beyond Marshall as both are widely ranked as four-star tennis recruiting prospects. Julianna placed 22nd in USTA Girls 16U Southern California tournament standings that summer, while Johanna placed 41st in 18U.
The Marshall High sisters often get comments, saying Johanna, that they are the next Serena and Venus Williams. And they’ve already made up their minds: Julianna, the more level-headed of the two, is Venus, while Johanna’s aggressive style is more akin to Serena’s.
And yes, they’re extremely close, but they also have an earthquake-like difference in attitude.
“Julianna is a bit too quiet for me,” Johanna said.
It has made them a terrible choice as a doubles partner despite their collective talent. In their last game together five months ago, Johanna got angry with Julianna every time her younger sister missed a point. But whatever she would say, the two of them laughed at the memory, it was nothing to personally.
And Julianna tried to use Johanna’s fire against her last Wednesday, knowing full well that her older sister hated losing a single point.
“I really try to piss them off and run for every ball,” Julianna said.
But Johanna, in turn, knew that throwing herself into her anger and trying to keep a cool head and keep a clear head wouldn’t work against her sister. After Julianna took a 3-2 lead in the first set, Johanna came back and won 6-3, keeping her foot on the gas and claiming the second set and the singles crown.
The two have high aspirations, both hoping to play in NCAA Division I schools on the west coast and inviting the possibility of them facing each other again at the college level. But at least for now, Julianna’s high school goal is simple.
“Once my sister graduates from high school and graduates,” Julianna said, laughing, “I hope to finally be able to recruit CIF people.”
https://www.latimes.com/sports/highschool/story/2022-11-22/marshall-high-sisters-face-tough-competition-city-tennis-finals-each-other Marshall High sisters face each other for City tennis title