Girls’ tennis has had an exciting season filled with new players and successful matches.
Tennis coach Jeff Zinke set many goals and aspirations for the 2016-17 girls’ tennis season. He was excited for the new players to improve and learn about the sport, all while having fun doing it. Zinke started playing tennis when he was in seventh grade, and still participates the sport now, while also enjoying improving any aspect of TJ he can, especially through coaching. He has been coaching tennis since he graduated from college in 1980, and said, “I had a great experience in 2004 with the boys at TJ, I had the opportunity to come back four years ago.”
The girls were well prepared for their matches, and excited to bond with other team members. Players do drills such as serve and return practice, as well as scrimmages in order to improve their game while doubles partners work on building teamwork skills. Junior Laura Brandon commented, “The drills really help me improve on my skills, and since I’m new this year they also help me with learning more about the sport as a whole.”
First time player Maia Freedberg explained her motivation to play, “I chose to join the tennis team this year because I really wanted to increase my participation in afterschool and school-related activities. I thought tennis was the perfect choice because I’d heard that they always accept new players. Our coaches are accepting and understanding and do their best to make sure that everyone on the team is trying their hardest and having fun.”
Senior and team captain Rachel Sadler has many roles. “My role as team captain is to give the girls a short pep talk before each match, help our coaches during practice, and announce the lineup before each game with my co-captain, Olivia Fullerton,” explained Sadler. Sadler enjoys encouraging the team, as well as seeing all the players obtain new skills and have fun both on and off the court. She has been on varsity for all four years of high school, however she has played tennis for ten years altogether, which was one of the reasons she was picked to be team captain this year. She added, “I wanted to become team captain because the girls on our team have always kept me optimistic through tough matches and I wanted to bring that same joy in my last year at TJ.” Tennis is a great opportunity for students to meet new people and learn about a new sport near the end of the school year. The girls had a great season with lots of wins and improvement among both new and old members.