Girls tennis traditions return as team comes together

After a season of losses and missed opportunities last year, girls varsity tennis is working hard to ensure it serves up one of its best seasons yet.

Although its first contest of the year resulted in a 9-0 loss against Deerfield (all nine players lost their matches), the team performed the best it could under tough circumstances. For the past two seasons, Deerfield has won all but one of its competitions; the squad has been nearly impossible to beat. 

Head Coach Leanne Baker reflects on everything the Kits are doing to make this season a success.

“They are all working hard together and pushing each other to make each other better,” Coach Baker explains. “We competed well against a tough Deerfield team.”

Between a record number of girls participating in the tennis program and the success of off-season practices, the team’s commitment to hard work is clear. And what makes it worth it is the long-lasting friendships the players gain.

Senior varsity player June Ciszek believes that playing a season amid COVID-19 did more than just require players to wear masks and social distance; the Kits lost the social benefits of being on a sports team.

“Playing during COVID was pretty sad, not going to lie,” Ciszek remarks. “We missed out on so much team bonding and normal tennis traditions such as team breakfasts and sisters.”

Luckily, as vaccinations have given way to COVID-19 restrictions being slowly but surely lifted, the Kits are able to start incorporating those traditions back into their team dynamic. Now, they’re doing all they can to make up for missed time.

“We have a massive bucket list of things to do such as escape rooms, beach days and lots of team dinners,” Ciszek adds.

Despite less than ideal playing conditions, the team was still able to pull out wins against North Shore Country Day, Reginia and Niles West last year. In the end, the Kits placed fifth out of six teams in the Central Suburban League South.

For the current season, the team is hoping to build upon last season’s momentum by working harder than ever during practices and matches. At the time of this writing, they’ve secured wins against Hersey. 7-1, and North Shore Country Day, 6-1.

“I’m excited to see the hard work that our girls have put in over the off-season pay off,”  Coach Baker concludes. “We have a great team and we are looking forward to playing some [more] matches.”