Girls Tennis Gets First Win, Defeats Norwood

A player slams the ball to win her match.

A player slams the ball to win her match.

cassidyrandall

 

A player slams the ball to win her match.
A player slams the ball to win her match.

 

The Girls Tennis season started off with a difficult losing streak.  After a disappointing season last year and starting this year with no permanent coach and few returning players, there was little surprise when the Rebels’ first few matches were less than perfect.  However, on Friday May 3, Girls Tennis won their match against Norwood, showing the team’s building potential.

The first three matches were particularly hard losses—no players won their matches.  With new coach Diane Heinold accepting her position just days before the team’s first match, the Rebels were at a disadvantage against other teams who had practiced for weeks.  Under Heinold’s direction, the team has improved greatly and some varsity players began to win matches; most notably, freshman Alyssa Rosen won several of her first singles matches.  At each match, the Rebels came closer to victory. Coach Heinold said “We have a young team with a lot of potential.  They are only going to improve.”

On Friday, the excited team prepared to play Norwood with the particularly determined attitude that can be expected in any Norwood-Walpole game.  Freshman Alyssa Rossen played first singles; junior Captain Hannah Miller, second singles; freshman Erin Pitman third singles.  A change from the usual lineup occurred due to the absence of freshman Mary Healy, who plays first doubles with fellow freshman Julia Sandquist.  Second singles player junior Nicole Mallory took Healy’s place and sophomore Sarah Armstrong moved up from Junior Varsity to play alongside junior Captain Emily Byrnes in second doubles.

As the matches started, the entire team’s spirits began to lift.  Rosen won her match in two sets, bringing the first win for the day, quickly followed by a victory in the first doubles match.  Though second doubles soon lost, their match went to a third set, which was impressive for a pair who does not usually play together.  Pitman later lost her match, leaving Norwood and Walpole each with two wins. All eyes then turned to Miller’s match, which would determine the victor of the match as a whole.

Miller and her opponent each won a set, building anxiety for both teams.  The majority of Miller’s matches go into a third or tiebreaking set, but with the whole match depending on her, Miller played her hardest.  Since the match had gone on for almost two hours already, the third set was played as a super tiebreaker, meaning that instead of playing individual games to make the set, the first player to ten points wins the match.

With all players on both teams watching and cheering, the tiebreaker began.  After a few back and forth points, Miller eventually took the lead 6-4.  Then Walpole team and parents waited with anticipation as Miller took two more points. Giving up one more point, Miller took the tie breaker with a score of 10-5.  Miller and the rest of her team left the courts smiling and proud of their first win.

Though the rest of the season will still be a challenge, the victory gave the entire team motivation.  Alyssa Rosen said, “I’m so proud of the way everyone played today.  We’re all getting better and it shows.  Hopefully we can have more matches like this and get more wins.”  The team holds a record of 1-8 and is working hard to bring home more wins for Walpole.