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Highland girls tennis team finishes successful season

10/25/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

GRANGER — Highland girls tennis head coach Lisa Reynolds said her team entered the season with the goals of having “a better performance in the league and the league tournament.”

With a 16-1 overall record and a 7-0 mark in the Suburban League, Reynolds said the team “superseded” its goals.

“The season was very successful. They exceeded my expectations,” she stated. “We had hopes to win the league and we won the league with authority. We won 39 out of a possible 40 points at the tournament.”

According to Reynolds, the strength of this year’s team was its consistent play.

“Match after match, we rose up to play really good tennis for the important matches,” she said. “We had Grace Gsellman, who was slotted to play first doubles against Green, go down 10 minutes before the match with an ankle sprain. Claire Cressman filled in that day with Claire Watts, and we really liked what we saw. Gsellman joined Madeline Petrich on the second doubles court and really strengthened that court. Both doubles teams were league champions.”

The Highland girls tennis team also took home several other top spots in league play.

“Second singles player Ashley Lengel and third singles player Allie Welch were league champions, and first singles player Nicole Hadler was league runner up,” Reynolds said.

The team was led by seniors Hadler and Lengel, both of whom were four-year letter-winners, and Watts, a third-year letter-winner. Hadler and Watts each finished with a 19-5 overall record, and Lengel was 25-5. In addition, Lengel and Welch made it to the first round of the district tournament, where they played doubles.

“The seniors are all strong veteran players who have been at home on the higher courts,” Reynolds said. “They will be missed.”

The coach said a few other players stepped up and enjoyed success this season.

“Grace Gsellman has two older brothers who have played for the boys program, so she is a tough freshman,” the coach said. “[Sophomore] Claire Cressman did a great job in a difficult situation and really improved this season. [Junior twins] Madeline Petrich and Macie Petrich teamed up together at times, and with Gsellman at times, and did a really nice job.”

Gsellman finished with a 13-7 record and Cressman was 16-7. Madeline Petrich earned 12 wins and Macie Petrich notched six victories.

Another key contributor was sophomore Welch, a second-year letter-winner who finished with a 19-5 record.

This was Reynolds’ 10th season as the team’s coach. Her staff is comprised of Ty Damon, junior varsity coach, and Aris Spirtos, assistant varsity coach.

Reynolds said she is “looking forward to next season.”

“The returners will need to work on singles in order to fill the shoes left by seniors Nicole Hadler and Ashley Lengel, as well as rise up to fill the shoes of first doubles player Claire Watts,” she stated. “Next year, I think we’ll be strong, but we’ll be rebuilding.”

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