MHS girls' tennis offers strong competition
By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Tue., May. 10, 2011
“We’ve been having a good season this year,” said Chase Dunlap, the coach of the Manchester High School girls’ tennis team. “We’re competing and winning against some traditionally strong competition,” he added, noting that sometimes the team may lose the overall match, but the individual singles or doubles teams play well. Mid-way through the season, the team is 2-5.
Dunlap has been with the MHS team, which averages 20 players, since 2007. The team lost five girls to graduation last year, and there are 10 seniors on the team this year. “It’s a very experienced team,” said Dunlap. As coach, he strives to focus on developing a strong understanding of the foundations of tennis, especially because many of his team members start with little tennis experience.
Noting some of the top players, Dunlap said, “Sara [Eliason] and Lindsay [Tracy] are our [number] one doubles team, and are currently on-pace to qualify for the individual state tournament.” Speaking about his strong juniors Larissa Dorn and Taylor Rodrigue, who play the three and four singles, Dunlap said, “Their leadership will be extremely important next year.” Dunlap noted that sophomore Jessica Robittaille, currently playing doubles with senior Suzanne Weeden, has a strong foundation and is very competitive. “We got a number of good freshmen who came out, who will develop into contributing members of the team,” Dunlap added about this year’s team.
“I’m always impressed with the academic achievement of my team,” said Dunlap, explaining that many are leaders within the MHS community, whether through the National Honor Society, clubs or other sports teams.
Senior Sara Eliason plays first doubles, and is having a very successful season with her partner, Lindsay Tracy. She was recruited to the team just last year, and finds that the sport has a similar movement to soccer that keeps the player on her toes. “The team has been improving over the season,” said Eliason. “It’s a rebuilding year for the underclassmen.”
Jacquelyn Waltmire, a senior, is one of the four team captains. She enjoys playing singles, because “I get to do my own games,” she said. She moved up the ladder this year to second singles. “It’s been a challenge, but it motivates me more.” She feels her strength is being a positive player.
Senior co-captain Lindsay Tracy has been with the team three years, and plays first doubles with Sara Eliason. “I like it because we’re friends and we work well together,” said Tracy of her partner. For herself, she tries to stay positive. “You’ll beat yourself if you let yourself get down,” she said.
“I like the one-on-one, especially in singles,” said Amanda Willhoft, who plays first singles. “It’s really about being stronger and having endurance.” She encourages others to join team, saying that it is a sport that the player can learn quickly and can see on-going improvement. “I’m improving a lot this year,” said Willhoft, a senior co-captain, “especially my serves.”
“I was completely new,” said senior co-captain Eileen Li about her freshmen year introduction to tennis. She now plays third doubles with her partner, Lynn Nguyen. As co-captain, she feels that the underclassmen find her very approachable. On the court, though, she likes to remain stoic. “You can’t tell if I’m winning or losing,” said Li about her game-presence.