Loss of standout sophomore players forces team to rebuild

By Zack Schwartz

The girls’ tennis team has struggled to continue its momentum from last season, and started the year with a 2-5 overall record and a 1-2 Mission League record.Kate Konvitz ’20 attributes the slower start to a difficult early-season schedule.

“So far, the team has had a lot of tough competition this season,” Konvitz said, “But, we’re all playing really hard and putting in 100 percent.”

The team began the season after losing Sophia Ekstrand ’20 and Erika Ekstrand ’20, two key members from last season. The two chose to take the school season off to play with outside coaches, and new younger players have stepped into their roles.

“I think that one of the freshmen, [Kimberly Tan ’22], has been playing really well this season and is a great part of the team,” Maddy Dupee ’20 said.

The squad also features freshmen Jade Zoller ’22 and Kate Burry ’22, both whom have had lots of playtime and have helped replace players who didn’t return.

Girls tennis program head Jelena Durisic said that the team has struggled to find a way to finish matches strong.

“It’s been a work in progress,” Durisic said. “We have a much younger team who is still adapting to playing girls who are a bit older and more experienced in matches. We are working on better starts in matches. That has been one issue that has affected us, especially stronger teams because then we are constantly chasing from behind and it shows. We will continue to tweak the errors that we see and grow this young team to its full potential.”

The team remains unfazed despite their losing record, putting an emphasis on teamwork.

“The season’s been going fine so far, and we’ve been playing well against tough teams,” Dupee said. “I think we can always improve our teamwork and unity, and that’s something we’ll do in the future for sure.”

Konvitz said she shares the same confidence in the squad’s ability moving forward.

“I think we’ve grown a lot as a team and become a lot closer which translates to how well we’ve played,” Konvitz said. “Even though tennis is an individual sport, the stronger and more supportive we are as a group, the better we perform on the court.”

Durisic is optimistic about the future with the young core she said.

“The good news is that it’s a young team and many things can be improved,” Durisic said. “Therefore, there is no limit to what they can accomplish. “The team is in its first season playing at Weddington Golf and Tennis and has struggled at home, posting a record of 1-3, after suffering a 12-6 loss to Marlborough High School on Sept. 25.”

The girls will host league rival Marymount High School on Oct. 2 at home. However, the Wolverines did not play Marymount last season.