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Attitude, expectations dominate tennis outlook

The blistering summer sun beats down as campus sports teams work and condition. The faces of football and basketball players glisten with sweat as they endure grueling practices. In contrast, the members of the girls’ tennis team appear fresh as daisies, as they gracefully lob forehands across the court.

The extreme temperatures, which frequently soar into triple-digits, do not bother them in the least. Actually, the girls welcome the sun, as it provides one of the greatest benefits of tennis: a great tan.

“Even though it gets really hot when we practice, it is totally worth it, because we get awesome tans,” Michelle Smith, ’04, said. “Coach (George) Freeman always reminds us of our tans when we get tired. The only bad thing about them is that or legs get really tan, but our feet are white, since we are wearing shoes.”

Smith is an expert on the finer points of tennis tans, as she is a four-year varsity starter, and has held the number one spot all four of those years.

“Michelle is hitting better, harder, and more accurately than she ever has in all her years of playing,” Freeman said. “She is also a wonderful player with a great attitude.”

Smith’s fellow teammates also have high opinions of her talent and leadership.

“Michelle is an awesome player,” Hillary Kell, ’05, said. “She’s incredibly talented. Not only that, she’s really encouraging, and makes a great team captain. I want to be just like her!”

Smith has a bright outlook on the team’s prospects for this season.

“I think this is the best team this school has ever had-at least in all the years I have been playing,” Smith said. “The new players blend in well, and the team dynamics are really jelling.”

Freeman agrees with his number one player.

“My team is looking really, really good,” Freeman said. “They have been performing with brilliance.”

The abundance of talent on the team causes an abundance of high expectations too.

“If we continue to work hard, and are protected from injuries, the Valley Championship should be ours,” Freeman said. “This team is able to dominate in all aspects of the game, and I think they will rise to the occasion.

The team has lost the Valley Championship three years in a row to archrival Templeton, after beating them the previous two years. A long-standing and vicious rivalry runs between the two teams.

Freeman and his girls have not let the rivalry die, and hope that this year Templeton’s winning streak will come to an end.

“We have been battling Templeton for forever,” Kell said. “It is the biggest rivalry in girls’ sports! We use the thought of playing them as our motivation for working hard.”

Despite the reoccurring disappointment of Valley losses, the campus team has set an unprecedented standard for quality playing, as they have not lost a league match since 1997.

The girls currently hold a 5-0 record. The team travels to Fowler on Sept. 16, where they will play their first league match.” “Madeline Ervin” “Each of the last four years, the girls’ tennis team has started undefeated. But discipline is still a must throughout the season as their nemesis, Templeton, most likely awaits in the Sierra League playoffs. Here Amanda Dring, ’06, rallies with Hillary Kell, ’05, not pictured, before their match with Caruthers on Sept. 18.” “” “” “

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    Mary HierholzerAug 26, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Oh Will… the Nut House has never been the same since you left… I miss you, big bro!