April 16, 2014 - After only losing one senior last year and the majority of the team coming back, Tennis Coach Gail Bailey said her girls "look better and stronger this year."
Front row (from left): Chloe Straub, Carson Johnson, Captian Maddie Maier, Captain Aviana Paese, Mackenzie Prey, Hannah Yoo and Brooke Taylor. Back row (from left): Lakin Felix, Angela Savich, Coach Gayle Bailey, Lisa Savich, Monica Heirman and Rebecca Krol. Photo by Trevor Keiser. (click for larger version)
"I think their confidence and level of play has gone up a lot over the summer," Bailey said. "I think we're going to be really competitive this year and I am excited for them."
As for matches and tournaments, Bailey said they just want to "win as many matches for Oxford as possible." However, she did note that they are looking forward to going against Avondale for "head-to-head" competition.
"I think there were a couple girls from last year who (lost and) are really going for blood this year and want redemption," she added.
Of the 11 players returning, Bailey said she is really excited to watch her number one doubles Lakin Felix and Rebecca Krol, because of all the hard work they put in over the summer.
"I am so excited for them as a team. I would put them up there as far as level of play and I think they're going to do really well this year," she said. "They work really, really well together. So for the other girls to look at them I think they are great models of what I see in a doubles team because they compliment each other. There is no cattiness. They're out there to get the job done and they do it."
Bailey is also excited about the fresh blood she has on the varsity team with Carson Johnson and sisters, Lisa and Angela Savich.
"They're first-time tennis players but for them to be able to make varsity they have shown me great skill already in such a short period of time," she added. "Carson Johnston, is consistent. Angela Savich she really attacks the net and loves to poach. I love aggressiveness of her poaching skills. Lisa Savich she is also consistent with hitting the ball back and forth and being a 'steady Eddy.'"
The strength of the team lies in "unity," according to Bailey.
"I've always pushed them to be united," she said. "Whether they are varsity or JV they care and have each other's backs and that's all I've ever instilled in them and wanted for them."
Bailey said "the league looks good."
We have a lot of the returning schools we played last year, but we've gotten better as I am sure they have," she said. "Time will tell as well as the matches will tell how everyone will fair, but we're excited and we're ready to go."
The goal of the season is "to have fun."
"In order for them to have fun I want them to love tennis and I want them to really enjoy it," Bailey said. "It's cool to look cute in the outfits, but when on the court I want them to be little pit-bulls and aggressive. Give everything they have and leave it all out there."
Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.