Scouting out the girls varsity tennis season

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The girls tennis team huddles at their match at last season’s’ match. The girls finished last season 14-2. Photo by: Emma Degroot (12)

Danica Mileusnic

Reigning in last year with an record of 14-2, the varsity girls tennis team has high hopes for this season. Their only two losses being to Crown Point High School during their regular season and Sectionals.

“This year there are probably a little bit more expectations on the team itself because we’ve returned some starters and ,obviously, I have one of the best players in the state of Indiana, so with that people put a little bit more pressure on you,” Coach Bryan Szalonek, Social Studies, said.

The NWI Times recently came out with their preseason rankings with Lake Central being second only to Munster. Lake Central was also predicted to win both Sectionals and the Duneland Athletic Conference.

“I think this the best season that we’ve had in a really long time. We have such a well-rounded team and we are good from the top to the bottom. So,I  think that we’ll do really well,” Anna Wachowski (12) said.

Coach Katelin Ellis, Science, came to the tough decision to not coach this year as she just had a baby. Coach Joe Skvarek, saw this as an opportunity to step in and fully become the girls’ assistant coach for this season.

“I feel really good about [coaching this year]. I generally have been working with most of these kids. The first time I started working with the high school is when the seniors were freshmen. So, I’m used to working with the team quite a bit,” Skvarek said.

Skvarek has been working with the singles players and Szalonek with doubles to attempt to win Sectionals and the Duneland Athletic Conference. The Girls Tennis Sectional consists of Crown Point High School, Hanover High School and Kankakee Valley.

“This is really a good year to get past Sectionals. It’s been competitive. It puts a lot of stress on the girls. If you win, you move ahead of your opponent. That’s the nice thing about tennis; you can look at the rankings system and justify where people compete,” Szalonek said.

This is Kristina Tinsley’s (12) last season for the Indians. Tinsley has been playing No. 1 singles since her freshman year and is currently No. 4 in the state of Indiana. She is continuing her tennis career at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis.

“Everybody wants to win. I put pressure on myself. I wouldn’t say pressure, but I have expectations on myself and goals that I want to succeed. I think everybody has a little pressure whether you are winning or you’re losing. You just want to play as well as you can,” Kristina Tinsley (12) said.

During the postseason, the girls prepared for season attending conditioning and open hitting. They met around three to four days a week in the summer, fall and winter.

“[I would describe my team as] athletic just because everyone for the most part [attended] conditioning-that’s year round now. Several of the people that are going to make it into the varsity [lineup], have come to most of those conditionings and many of them have played extra tennis,” Szalonek said.

Due to only seven varsity spots, the race for varsity is highly competitive and may change. The starting lineup for Friday April 7, the first match, is Kristina Tinsley (12) at No. 1 singles, Claire Gronek (11) at No. 2 singles, Danica Mileusnic (10) at No. 3 singles, Anna Wachowski (12) and Lauren Gronek (12) at No. 1 doubles and Kaitlin George (12) and Colette Oboy (11) at No. 2 doubles.

“I think we are all very close, and I think because there are so many upperclassmen on the team, that everyone is very open to each other. We are trying to get inclusive and get to know everyone,” Wachowski said.