Lady Knights Tennis starting a new era

The Norwin Lady Knights Girls Tennis team wrapped up their 2022 season on Oct. 5 following WPIALs and the JV Doubles Tournament. 

The JV team before departing Norwin to play at the Doubles Tournament held at Franklin Regional.

With 17 total players, 9 on varsity and 8 on junior varsity, a new era was marked and difficulties were overcome. With the final record not being quite as desired, 4-6, the team played hard and worked for every point and every win they had.

“The biggest challenges for the team would probably be losing a lot of the varsity roster and coach,” said co-captain Mary Mahoney (11). “It felt like we had to start over losing both. Even though we did lose a lot of girls, that did not stop us!”

The significant changes on the tennis team allowed for many new starters to step as well as Coach Jeffery Toops who was the junior varsity coach the few years prior. 

The biggest challenge I have faced is preparing the varsity girls to be mentally ready to play,” said Coach Toops. “With only one returning varsity player, the other 6 starters had not seen the level of competition we are facing this season. The physical skill sets are in place, but this year they are facing opponents who are completely and seriously focused. You don’t typically see that level of intensity in exhibition and JV players. Facing that for the first time can be intimidating. But the players are adjusting, learning from their experiences, and moving forward.”

At the Section Singles Tournament, Mary Mahoney, the varsity team’s first singles, was unable to beat her opponent in the first round. Jenna Walko, varsity’s second singles, won her first round game, moving on to unfortunately lose to her second round opponent. At the Section Doubles Tournament, varsity’s first doubles team, Abby Campbell (12) and Erin Alexander (11), and varsity’s second doubles team, Taylor Miller (11) and Abby Zula (11), both lost to their first round opponent. 

“There is always someone who is a better tennis player than they are, and that is OK,” said Coach Toops.  “To take mental notes of what worked in a match and what didn’t, then apply that to the next match. To look forward, not backward- which is sometimes very hard to do.  Lastly- that they are a work in progress, and with hard work improvement is always just around the corner.”

Throughout the season, many lessons have been learned, as well as many friendships forged and lasting memories were created. The team bonded allowing for enjoyable trips to away games and a welcoming environment on the courts.

“I have some wonderful memories with the tennis team over these past 4 years!” said senior Abby Campbell, co-captain of the varsity team. “Some of which include team dinners, making new friends, and competing in the playoffs.”