T.ennis coaches Sharon Wood at Seymour, Erik Stangland at Brownstown Central and Julie Lemming at Trinity Lutheran are curious to see how their teams will perform this spring after being unable to play last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
All three teams are scheduled to open Tuesday with the Cougars going to Southwestern (Hanover), the Owls heading to Jeffersonville, and the Braves playing in Charlestown for a Mid-Southern Conference game.
They are really excited and ready to get back on these jobs, Wood said. They spent almost two years preparing for the season. They’ve worked really hard in the off season and they are excited and ready for a great year.
She said her seven seniors provide good leadership.
Not only do we have excellent players, but we also have good leadership, attitude and willingness to do whatever it takes for the team, so we have a lot of experience in both junior and senior classes and we were excited for them, she said.
One such senior is Mallory Moore, who played number 1 in her sophomore year double.
I like doubles. I love that the field is wider, that we can play the whole field and not have a smaller area to play on, she said. My backhand is stronger. I play left side. I have a lot more confidence in my backhand. It’s something that throws out opponents because I can play a stronger backhand. Not many people do that.
Moore said she likes to play on the net.
I like to play more aggressively. I think it’s a lot more fun to put the shots away, she said.
Pre-game warm ups are important, Moore said.
Yes, it’s about getting warmed up, but it’s also about analyzing where your opponents are, what they’re struggling with, and where they are on the field, she said. It’s about tactics before the game starts.
Once the game starts, winning the first set is important in building foundation and terrain, she said.
Because it often happens that you don’t win the first set and you get tired and it starts to slow down, Moore said. So getting that base and winning the first set, letting them know where your ground is and that you’re coming for them helps a lot.
Other seniors include Sandy Cerino, Ellie Cornn, Kirby Hill, Sydney Musgrave, Avery Ragon, and Citlally Ramirez.
In addition to the seniors, there are four juniors, seven sophomores and six freshmen.
We have a lot of options, Wood said, adding that she’s had challenging competitions for the past few days.
Our line-up is completely open, she said. We have at least 12 different players within range of the varsity lineup, so the good news for our team is that we have a lot of high-level players, and we have a lot of players with track experience, and we also have a lot of players who are both can play singles as doubles.
For the next several weeks, she said the coaches will try to figure out what’s best for the team to see how everyone fits into the puzzle and how the pieces will go to benefit the team the most.
We will come out strong, fight hard and look forward to a competitive season, she said. We talked a lot about mental preparedness that we need to be both mentally ready for a match and physically ready for that match.
Wood said she tells her players to find out and attack opponents’ weaknesses.
We see growth in that every day, she said. I am excited to get to this level. I like their personalities. They are a lot of fun to work with, and it makes my job as a coach really exciting because I want to be here every day to help them get better.
Stangland said this will be a rebuilding season for his team.
Was a little short on experience, he said. Several of the girls who played in the past didn’t come out this year, and we had six graduated, so if you knock out a few experienced players and six graduates, that’s eight people from a team, and that’s a pretty good switchover .
There are no seniors on the team. The juniors are Hannah Hackman, Chelsea Luedeman and Emily Mann. Hackman played at number 2 and doubled her freshman season.
Luedeman played a few varsity matches as a freshman.
I worked on my form and hit the ball well again, she said. I like to play doubles on the right. Communication is very important in doubles, especially if you are substituting and you are not hitting the ball to the other. I like to play on the net.
Luedeman said she wants to help the younger girls feel like a team.
I like how everyone plays as a team, she said. It’s fun to play. It is very important to win the first set. It boosts your confidence.
Stangland said the focus will be on improvement throughout the season.
Can we improve the percentages that just come in? he said. Some girls are just learning the game, so instead of being sixth graders and learning, they learned at the freshman or sophomore level. We’re going to do our best to train and hopefully challenge these girls in a few matches. We just have to see a real improvement.
The coaches work with the girls to hit the ball correctly.
If a girl wants to learn tennis, play correctly, just learn the basics, forehand top spin, hit a backhand volley, get the grip correctly so she can hit the ball the way she wants, those are the biggest things , Stangland said.
We went back to base, he said. We should just keep going on and on as the season goes on. Dedication becomes the most important. I am proud of the girls who brought them out and worked hard.
Lemming said growth will be important to the Cougars.
We hope for improvement, she said. We have some players who have never picked up a racket, and they are learning the game, so I like to think of them as emerging players, and it feels promising.
Seniors on the roster include Becca Brown, Regan Cain, Katelyn Mensendiek and Erin Enzinger, and Lemming said she counts on the top three to fill leadership roles.
The coach said Enzinger had missed a year of play and would not play this spring, but decided to join the team.
She has quite a bit to offer our team, she has a super attitude and she looks very promising to me, said Lemming.
Katelyn and Becca have played together before, and they have a solid sense of synergy. They play well together, she said. I foresee that they will finish at number 1 in the doubles. It will be a strong position.
The coach said Cain, who is a junior but will graduate early, and Sarah Lemming will likely play No. 1 and No. 2 singles.
The coach said the other positions will be filled through challenge matches.
Well, look how things shake up, she said. Well, have an initial setup, and if we need to tweak it, we can absolutely do that. We are full of promise. We already have a good sense of community and fellowship with our team, and we feel good about our season no matter how it goes.
Brown said she likes to play doubles.
I feel like there is someone else out there who can help you parent when you come up to you. There’s always some kind of positivity out there, she said.
I like the right side. I like to play back. I have a little more reaction time, she said. It is quite important to win the first set. If you don’t win it, you should definitely push yourself a little harder to catch up again.
Brown is ready for the season.
As long as we practice hard and keep each other positive, I think we can have a good season, she said.