In order to win its sixth straight Mission League title and make another deep run in the CIF Division 1 playoffs, every member of the girls’ varsity tennis prepared during the offseason by either taking lessons from a private coach, playing United States Tennis Association tournaments or doing tennis camps. Additionally, the team is expected to play on weekends during the season to maintain a high level of play.
While historically the Wolverines have had little competition within the Mission League, they will have to defeat close-matched opponents in Campbell Hall, Dana Hill, Palos Verdes and Santa Barbara on their path to a CIF championship. In recent years, these matchups have gone back and forth: The Wolverines beat both Palos Verdes and Santa Barbara last year, but lost to Santa Barbara the year before.
While the team has been playing constantly, senior co-captains Margeaux “Levi” Craske-Curtin ’14 and Sophie Gunter ’14 believe that the team’s real effectiveness lies in its character.
“I think our team’s strength is that we never give up during a match and also fight until the end,” Gunter said.
“I think we’re a very communicative and supportive team, even though individually we’re all very different,” Craske-Curtin added. “We train well together, especially because a lot of our drills require us to play off of each other, depend on each other, and fill in for one another, so we have to be very aware and in tune of where our teammates are on the court and what they’re doing.”
Craske-Curtin also acknowledged that the team has areas to work on.
“There is a slight lack of organization on the team.” she said, “Players tend to arrive to practice late, which means practice ends later than it should, this is also partially because the passion of the players on the team varies; some are much more driven to do well than others. I think we need to work on encouraging the players to put in their best and most efficient effort this season.”
Practice for the two and a half month season starts today and the team will be working on its competition skill set, game mentality, fitness and endurance on the court.
With the graduation of Savannah de Montesquiou ’13 and Kristina Park ’13, four-year varsity members and “the backbone of the team,” according to Craske-Curtin, the early departures of Alexia Le ’14 and Emma Lesher-Liao ’14, two contributing players from last year who have decided not to continue playing their senior year, and Julia Goldberg ’16, a sophomore who expectations were high for before she moved to Florida, the roster will have holes that must be filled by less experienced players.
One of these players is Juliana Simon ’16. Simon was unable to play last year due to a back injury but is set to come back and impact the team. Simon has a lot of experience in competition despite her youth.
The rest of the official lineup had not been decided as of press time, because the junior varsity and varsity coaches were still debating the spots.