After 25 years, girls' tennis returns to Norwich Tech
By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Norwich - posted Mon., Apr. 18, 2011
Norwich Technical High School girls’ tennis coach Emily Hayes said that she had to consult the yearbook archive to find out when the school last had a girls’ tennis team. The answer – more than 25 years ago.
Now, with a new school building and new tennis courts to match, Hayes is reviving the game with a team of 12 new players. And when she says “new,” she isn’t kidding. “Three out of our 12 [team members] had ever picked up a racquet – the rest, never,” she said.
Even so, the Warrior girls won their first-ever meet on the new home court April 7 against Capital Prep, 5-2. “They completely impressed me with their progress,” said Hayes. Her dozen players are good listeners and give her good effort in practice, she said.
“Although I know I’ll have a challenge ahead with a young team, I know we’re going to do well,” said Hayes, who teaches art at Norwich Tech. “The enthusiasm from students coming to my room exclaiming how excited they are to join tennis excites me. To see that passion, you know it’s going to be great.”
Hayes, who coached the Montville girls for eight years, said that she’s building on the recent success of the Warrior girls’ teams in volleyball and softball. Both those teams “made it to states and to their conference finals last year, after a very long dry spell,” she said.
“These girls are hard workers and great team players. Their coaches have also told me that their sportsmanship has been outstanding. Who wouldn’t want to coach under these circumstances?"
Hayes says she’s glad to be sharing her love of a game that she plays competitively herself. “I’m just so happy I can get these girls into it,” she said. “It’s a sport you can play lifelong – just find a court.”
Norwich Technical High School Girls’ Tennis Coach Emily Hayes
First year coaching.
Previously coached Montville girls’ tennis, eight years, and Stoughton, Mass., boys 2000-02.
A teacher at Norwich Tech for nine years, Hayes jumped at the chance to re-start the tennis program at the school. “I have seen the sports program at Norwich Tech grow and become stronger and stronger as the years have passed,” she said. Her team is heavy on sophomores, which bodes well for future seasons, she said.
Players to Watch:
Meaghan Gadreau - Senior, Doubles Tennis-
Gadreau, a Canterbury resident whose trade at Norwich Tech is hairdressing, teams up with junior Morgan Deschamps for the Warriors’ top doubles team. The pair won their first-ever match against Capital Prep of Hartford with a score of 8-1.
Vera Barnes - Senior, Singles Tennis-
Bernes is Hayes’ top singles player and, like her teammates, was first introduced to the sport in gym class. A Norwich resident, she’s studying electronics as her trade at Norwich Tech.