Undefeated GHS tennis team cruising toward title

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Fri., May. 13, 2011
GHS Freshman Katherine DeNucci makes a forehand stroke in a match vs. Manchester on May 10. Photos by Steve Smith.
GHS Freshman Katherine DeNucci makes a forehand stroke in a match vs. Manchester on May 10. Photos by Steve Smith.

The Glastonbury High School girls’ tennis team is seemingly unbeatable.

The team is undefeated, as of a 7-0 win over Manchester on May 10. They have not lost a single line since a 4-3 win over Weston in the first match of the season on April 7.

First-year coach Nathan Gaudreau, who previously coached the Xavier boys’ team, said the Tomahawks’ success is due to the starting lineup that remained intact from last year, plus the addition of freshman phenom Katherine Denucci and German exchange student Selina Nephuth, who he refers to as “The X Factor.”

“Katherine is just a very well-rounded player,” said Gaudreau. “She can hit from the baseline, she volleys really well, and she has a very nice serve. She definitely can dictate play if she chooses to.”

Denucci, who is recovering from a small injury, said she normally plays six days a week, including USTA tournaments on the weekends, year-round. She said she simply tries her best each time on the court.

“My best is my ground stroke – just keeping it in play and trying to dominate the opponent,” she said.

Denucci, who has been playing since she was 8 years old, said she plans to continue playing through high school, and beyond.

“I'm only a freshman,” she said, “so I'm not sure yet where I'm going to go to college.”

“Selina is an aggressor – there's no doubt about it,” said Gaudreau. “She starts strong and finishes strong. She's the definition of a fearless player.”

“If anything, all we've done is added to what we had last year,” Gaudreau said. “We had too much depth.”

Gaudreau said the team has a lot of strong, experienced players, and this season is “the year to make a push,” in the post-season.

While a lot of tennis is individual talent, Gaudreau said there is still plenty for the team to work on, and part of the regimen is self-imposed by the team.

“We do all sorts of drills,” he said. “After we play a match, I have them run about 2.5 miles. That was their idea. I told them they had a great team and a chance to go really far this year, so we should probably be in the best shape we can be in. I think that's been one of the keys to success.”

For the rest of the season, the players will be honing their skills even further.

“I'd like for them to have more opportunities to hit with each other,” Gaudreau said. “That, and they need to stay healthy. It's just a very deep team.”


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