Despite the departure of four senior leaders and the task of adapting to a new coach, the girls’ tennis squad hopes to return to the CIF finals for the third year in a row.
Going into the new season, the squad will be under a new head coach, Jelena Durisic. Durisic had previously served as the assistant coach of the team.
“I’m sure [Durisic] will have a really big impact on this season,” Lara Mikhail ’18 said. “We did so well the past two years, and I hope that we will be able to continue our run.”
Jennifer Gadalov ’19 said Durisic will help refocus the team through a more personalized approach.
“We’ve known her for a couple years and love her, so she also knows what we individually need to focus on and what we need to focus on as a team.” Gadalov said.
Last year, the Wolverines lost to Campbell Hall in the CIF finals. They ended the regular season with a 7-1 record, losing only to Notre Dame.
This year, the team has lost several key players including Jenna Moustafa ’17 and former Wolverine Sophia Genender.
“Jenna and Sophia was one of our strongest doubles pairings, if not the strongest,” Lara Mikhail ’18 said. “So now that they’re gone, we have to develop stronger doubles skills as a team.”
Along with Moustafa, four other members of the squad have graduated leaving holes in the girls’ lineup.
“We had four other seniors on the team last year,” Chloe Donovan ’19 said. “We will miss their amazing team spirit and them all so much. I think that the other members of the team will really need to step up and lead us this year.”
With openings in the lineup, younger players will be given opportunities to make an impact.
“Maddy Dupee ’20 and Erica Ekstrand ’20 have probably are probably the strongest players in our singles lineup,” Mikhail said. “Amanda Chan ’19 is also strong in both singles and doubles. It’ll be interesting to see how our new coach arranges the lineup.”
Gadalov expressed that in terms of strategy, the team isn’t making any drastic changes.
“We’re focusing on most of the same things like working hard and working together as a team,” Gadalov said. “We’re definitely also focusing on technical things, but our priority is making sure we give it our all.”
Donovan says that the squad is focusing on improving its skills and looks forward to the upcoming season.
“I think all of us will be really excited to start the season,” Donovan said. “I think some nerves are expected too, just because it will be a new team.”