Serving ’em up

Girls tennis remains perfect at 9-0


Ace Advice- Sophomore Lauren Parker (left) and senior Kaela Mack receive advice from coach Don Baron. The team hosted Andrew for Senior Night on Tuesday and won 7-0.

As much hype as the football team receives, it is not the only undefeated varsity team this season.

The girls tennis team is firing on all cylinders and is yet to lose. They’ve shutout six schools so far, including Sandburg, who beat the Vikings last year.

Their success stems from the interaction amongst the players.

“These girls are very supportive of each other and it is neat to watch them interact, motivate and learn from each other,” head coach Don Baron said. “The girls seem a bit closer and more supportive of each other as well than [in] past years.”

After watching several matches at once, it’s clear that no one on the team feels indifferent about another player, and that they are all pretty close.

“Our chemistry has contributed to our team’s success because we have so much fun and because we just interact and connect well with each other,” junior Haleigh Porter said. “We support each other and while we’re playing, we’ll cheer for each other, if whoever is on the court needs some support.”

Porter, who did not play last year because she was home schooled, has returned as an important asset to the team and boasts the number one singles spot this season.

Senior Sophia Osabuohien and she consist of the top two singles spots and contribute greatly to the team.

“They play A LOT of tennis in the offseason and are great athletes and competitors, so it should come to no coincidence of their success,” Baron said. “[Porter’s] game makes a big difference.”

With that being said, this does not mean that the rest of the team lies in Porter and Osabuohien’s shadows.

“The girls at the number two doubles to number four doubles have really worked hard and have improved their games. Their matches during the season count just as much as the number one and number two singles and doubles,” Baron said. “They have come up with some huge wins for us this year that we may have found a way to lose last year when we weren’t as experienced or focused.”

This experience probably comes from the senior-oriented roster of the team.

“We’re really deep and I think the presence of a lot more seniors than usual makes us a much stronger team than in the past,” senior Jessica Barry said.

The experience also derives from independent practice.

“I know that outside of our matches and our team practices, [the top doubles and singles teams are] taking private lessons and they’re doing everything they can so they can make it down to state,” Barry said.

In preparation for the conference and sectional tournaments not far down the road, the girls have been playing hard and often.

“We are playing two or three matches a week which is really keeping us in shape,” Barry said.

The team has also been taking note of their opponents in order to ready themselves.

According to Porter, conference is composed of teams they’re used to playing.

All of these ingredients make one of the strongest teams we’ve seen in a while, but there’s always room for improvement.

“We need to be a little more consistent in working hard during practices, and understand that ALL matches have a significant impact on our seedings and momentum carrying over to the end of the season with conference, sectionals and state tournaments,” Baron said. “If we fall into the trap of being the ‘big fish in the small pond of South Side tennis’ and not prepare like we should in the weeks prior to the state tournament, we can probably expect a disappointing finish in the state tourney.”