Strong tennis team sees success, contends with weather challenges

  • Tue Apr 4th, 2017 11:51am
  • Sports

The girls’ tennis season got off to a great start at the end of February. The turnout this year was exceptionally high with 36 girls.

The first day was sunny and dry, and the team looked quite promising and enthusiastic. Then the rain came back. For the next four weeks, the team was lucky to have one practice a week outdoors, and even then it was often just serving wet balls on a wet court or cold, windy practices. Four matches were cancelled, and limited practices made it difficult to set a lineup or really prepare for the season. Full credit goes to the entire team and to Coach Brougham for making indoor practices interesting, keeping a great attitude, staying focused and optimistic and making as much progress as possible.

During the first three weeks, the team managed to sneak in a couple matches. The varsity started with a dominant win at Clover Park, 5-0. The Pirates also controlled their first league match; the varsity won over Cascade Christian 4-1, and the JV team took a 3-2 win.

Last week, the weather improved somewhat, and the team travelled to Stadium High School in Tacoma for a more challenging match. Stadium is a 3A school and has a nice team. The Pirates got off to a slow start, dropping the first set in most of their matches. After that, the Pirates showed some real determination. Rallying for tiebreaker wins were Lizzy Maciejewski at number one singles, Hanna Nelson/Yulia Fiala at number one doubles and Lizzy Sutherland/Beka Lematua at number two doubles. At number three doubles, Tobin Vaughn /Emme Osborne had a strong win to help give the Pirate varsity a 4-1 overall win. The JV team also played really well in close matches; Jane Oswald/ Abbie Fiano and Lili Helsby /Ava Butler both won tiebreakers, and Lauren Henley/ Paisley Lieske won readily to help the JVs to a 3-2 win.

On Saturday, the Pirates hosted a round robin tournament with Kentridge, Puyallup and Emerald Ridge (all 4A schools) visiting Vashon. The day started a little shaky as half the courts were too wet to use, but the weather improved, and there were a lot of great matches played all day. There were some very strong singles players and doubles teams from all these schools, and the Pirate players more than held their own. More importantly, everyone got to play a lot, gained valuable experience and had a great time. Vashon beat Emerald Ridge 4-1, tied Puyallup 3-3 and lost to Kentridge 0-4.

The 2017 girls team is larger than usual and seems to be very deep. There are many talented players on the JV team who could easily be playing on varsity. With the large turnout and so many canceled matches, it is challenging to get everyone the match play they deserve, enough practice time and sort out a lineup. The team has a nice mix of experienced players and promising new players, and from top to bottom, the team members are improving rapidly, so the rest of the season should be interesting. The team has two home matches this week and played a very strong Charles Wright on Tuesday. The team will play Franklin Pierce on Thursday before spring break the following week.

— Pat Mulvihill is a Vashon High School girls’ tennis coach.