New coach Gipe takes the helm with high hopes

Connor Reese

Girls’ tennis is back with a new coach and opens the season Sept. 8 against Santa Monica High School.

Kristie Gipe took over for Chris Simpson, who resigned earlier this year.

“I’m super excited,” Gipe said. “Everybody works hard, and I think we have a really good future with this group of girls.”

Gipe graduated Cum Laude from Biola University.

She was the NAIA’s number two doubles player in the U.S.

She has over 30 years of experience at all levels of competition.

She is also a USPTA Elite Tennis Professional.

The team hopes to promote bonding off and on the court, Gipe said.

The team started off the year with a team dinner to meet the new members.

“We had a team dinner with the whole program, which was a fun way for everyone to come together,” Juliana Simon ’16 said. “It’s been great having the new freshman on the team.”

To help combat tennis’ individuality, Gipe wants the girls to be one cohesive group.

“It’s about personalities,” Gipe said, “I believe a team works well when they function as a unit. Even though it’s an individual sport, everybody plays better when they’re behind each other.”

Gipe is striving to up the focus and intensity of both off-season and season practices.

“Coach Kristie and all the coaches have done a great job ramping up the intensity of the program while still making it fun,” Simon said.

Many players have been attending training camps and clinics through the course of this summer.

In addition to promoting bonding, the team is also striving to emphasize teamwork during both practices and games.

“The girls have been open-armed to me,” Gipe said. “They’ve been so nice. I try to make a really concerted effort not to just show up on the first day.”

Gipe has tried to develop relationships prior to that so that both players and parents know who she is, she said.

Despite going 7-1 in Mission league play last season, the Wolverines were knocked out of CIF playoffs in the second round against Santa Barbara by a score of 11-7.

“As a team, we are all training harder on court and off court than last season and are much more motivated altogether to improve upon our past successes,” Simon said.

The team aims to make a deeper run in the CIF playoffs this year.

“I think that every season our goal is to win the Mission League,” Simon said. “This year, we’re working harder than ever and want to make it as far as we can in CIF.”