By: Hannah Peters, Feature Writer
The West Henderson Women’s tennis team is on a winning streak, being 2nd in conference. Success is important to the girls on the team. Senior Ava Heffner states that winning is much more than just the final result. According to Heffner, winning means “showing off all of my hard work and making Coach Combs proud of me.” However, these wins were a product of hard work and team unity. The team has proved their desire to succeed throughout the season. . When interviewed, freshman Shea Sullivan states that there are several things that help her to defeat the competition: “I use strategies when playing a match … I like to hit the ball to opposite ends of the court to wear out my opponent.” Heffner also uses strategies to continue to be successful, “I put a lot of extra work into my game, for example, my serves and my forehands are typically my strength so I tend to use them a lot.” Another thing that gives the girls a competitive edge is their tennis experience, and their overall love for the sport. Heffner has been playing tennis for 10 years and her passion for tennis motivates her to always be at the top of her game. In addition to these methods of attaining victory on the court, the girls are diligent off the court as well. Sullivan states that running drills “ help a lot because they build your endurance while playing the game. This means that you won’t get worn out as easily when you’re playing someone who’s on a higher level than you.”
Competitive nature amongst players is not exclusively seen on the court, as the players have good natured rivalries. . Sullivan states that she may challenge senior, Sydney Foster, for the number 4 spot on the team. Sullivan is not the only member of the team who is fighting for her spot as a competitive player. Junior, Emileigh Atkins has also been through a series of matches challenging her teammates. Atkins is the current number 6 player on the team. However, earlier this season, the number 6 position was filled by Junior, Perci Moore. When questioned about competition amongst the team, Atkins stated that Moore is her biggest competitor. Atkins mentioned that they have already played and challenged each other twice. Moore has plans to challenge her again for the spot, however, Atkins does not believe it is necessary. Atkins states that it is imperative that the players find the rank best fit for them so that they are “competing against people on other teams that are the same level as them, so that each player has a fair chance to win their match. Challenging yourself to get to a higher rank will help you grow as a player and give you more opportunities to reach your full potential.” Atkins has won all but 4 of the matches she has played as the team’s number 6. While playing, she tries to have a positive mindset and save her energy for the end of the match.
Singles seems to be the preferred match by all of the girls on the team, they feel less likely to let their teammates down than when they play doubles. . Despite the inter- competition, the team is very close-knit. This is not only due to the team building activities but also because the girls make an effort to maintain their friendships outside of playing time. Heffner states that “Team meals and the bus rides are the best team building activity.” According to Heffner, it was not hard being the “new girl” on the team and every one has been “warm and welcoming”.
In conclusion, lots of work has gone into the tennis team’s winning streak and the girls are constantly working not only to win but also to work as a cohesive team and build lasting strategies.