Elms tennis team ready for new challenges
WEST AKRON — Our Lady of the Elms High School tennis head coach Walt Jacoby said his team is gearing up for a new challenge this season.
“We jumped up a level in the USA league (from Level D to Level C), so I hope we can equal our record from last year and maybe enjoy more postseason success,” he said. “We were 10-8 last year. No one made it out of sectionals.”
Jacoby said the team has a couple of goals in mind to improve upon last season.
“We want to win matches we should win and steal a couple that we shouldn’t,” he said. “We’re also focusing on putting people away and not letting them hang around in a match.”
According to the coach, the Elms tennis team features a few new strengths this season.
“We are a little faster than previous seasons and more conditioned,” he said.
However, Jacoby noted, the team is on the young side.
“With only three veterans this year, overall we are a very young team,” he said.
This year’s team will be led by a pair of seniors: Mary Frances McGowan and Sara Fiegelist.
“They are both experienced varsity players from whom I expect big things this year,” the coach said. “Mary Frances McGowan has trained the whole offseason after finishing off last season as our hottest player. Sara has put in a lot of hard work over the last couple of years, and this year I think it’s really going to pay off for her.”
The squad’s third veteran, Jacoby said, is junior Katie Kuzmishin.
“Katie Kuzmishin steps into first singles for us this year and should have a great season,” he stated. “She was very strong at second last year and is always working on improving her game.”
The team’s first practice was scheduled to take place Aug. 6, and Jacoby said it would be his first introduction to many of the team’s players.
“We’re going to mostly have a new team, including a lot of freshmen that I haven’t seen yet,” he said. “I graduated a bunch of strong seniors last year, some three-year letter-winners, so it’s going to be a little bit of a rebuilding year. But hopefully we will be able to rebuild as we have success.”
In addition, Jacoby said, a new program implemented at the school this year should help the Elms tennis team in future years.
“We now have a middle school team here at the Elms. This will be the first year for it,” he said. “I think it will be kind of cool. It’s a good opportunity for the kids.”
The 2012 Elms tennis team’s season will get under way at home Aug. 13 at 10 a.m. against Chippewa High School.
“We have a lot of strong opponents, including our local rivals Cuyahoga Falls and Firestone,” the coach said. “Our realistic goal is to play .500 and have some success in the postseason.”
This will mark Jacoby’s 12th season as the Elms head coach and his 14th season overall as a head coach. His assistant coach is Chris Kuzas, who is in his second season with the team.
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