Tennis Team Swings Through 2022 Season

Tennis+players+warm+up+for+match.

Thijs Immeerzeel

Tennis players warm up for match.

Karansher Sidhu, Staff Reporter

Calm and composed on the surface, senior captain Kaitlyn Howie stuffed all her nerves away during the first Southern Lehigh girls tennis match of the season against Emmaus. The game was her first time playing the second singles position, meaning the pressure was on for success, and there was little room for error. Despite the weight of this responsibility and the intense competition faced by a seasoned team, she was able to pull off a win in one of the matches against Emmaus.

Southern Lehigh sports teams’ exploits are well known to Spartans in high school and beyond. While most coverage goes to large spectator sports like football, the Southern Lehigh girls’ tennis team have battled through their seasons competing against triple A teams with impressive records. With a lot of change in the district and within the team itself, this season has been full of accomplishments heading into the district tournament. 

In order to train for the fall season, with an abundance of matches played in quick and close proximity, the tennis team started practicing early in the summer in order to be in proper shape to rise to the level of competitiveness needed to compete in their games. This training involved athletic conditioning, working on skills, and playing practice games and tournaments in order to be ready for a tough season. 

“The heat was very intense but Coach Ashworth held little practices that were very fun and ultimately prepared us for the season,” senior captain Maddie Smith said.

Tennis differs from other sports in its format; the sport is composed of two distinct events, singles and doubles, each requiring different components of athleticism as well as team coordination. These aspects of the game make an adjustment from either a single player, to a duo in doubles, essentially a whole different game when regarding the style of play and skills involved.

“Some of the top players play singles, and based on a combination of experience and team chemistry, roles on the team are assigned between doubles and singles,” said Howie.

This year the team faced incredible competition coming from both the Colonial League as well as a multitude of Triple A schools. Despite these challenges, the Spartans impressively held a 9-4 record, losing only to Parkland, Emmaus, and narrowly to Moravian twice. 

“We did well this year,” said senior Evelyn Wang, “but unfortunately get unlucky because of who they play specifically, as we play the two best teams in the district multiple times.”   

The team confidently entered the championship season, ready to take on the challenges facing them, making it to finals at the Colonial League championships and moving into three district matches. In PIAA districts, the Spartans face larger teams and schools in a new arena of competition. Differing from other sports, in tennis there are three separate district matches: singles, doubles, and team. 

“I felt that singles districts went extremely well for myself, and I believe for Kaitlyn as well,” said Wang after her first day of district play. “I am very excited to work with Kaitlyn in upcoming districts!”

The season’s end brings the last swing for the five seniors who will leave the team. Losing a strong senior class is a large adjustment for any team, but in a sport like tennis where a few players on the team make vast impacts on its success, it is essential that the rising players are ready to fill big shoes. With the rigor of the tennis program at Southern Lehigh, and the great potential of the underclassmen, it is clear that the tennis team will keep swinging to victory in the future. 

“Although they are losing five players, the underclassmen have a huge bit of potential,” said senior head team manager Harrison Clark with a smile, “and I’m excited to hear about their success in the years to come.”