Girls varsity tennis places third in the Rockford Tri to open the season

Girls varsity tennis places third in the Rockford Tri to open the season

In its first match of the season, the girls varsity tennis team faced two extremely tough opponents in Mattawan and Rockford. Having reached the state tournament in June of 2019, the Rangers stacked up a fairly strong schedule. Senior Delaney Michalski teamed up with freshman Lucy Wu to take home a doubles victory against Mattawan, in addition to junior Leila Gonzalez and freshman Saniya Mishra winning a doubles match. Despite various losses in other categories and flights, the 2021 Rockford Tri gave the girls a chance to showcase their talent and see how they match up against the state’s top schools. 

“Both teams are excellent programs and are perennial top 10 teams in the state. Rockford is Division 1, and if all goes well, we will see Mattawan again at the Division 2 state tournament in June,” coach Jeremy Moog said. “Our girls played well. We had some bright spots, especially considering that we’re battling some injuries, and we only had two of 14 girls that have ever played a varsity match.” 

With the luxury of playing a season this year, the team certainly enjoyed its time back on the courts. 

“It’s a unique situation after having a year off with no tennis. We had a lot of girls playing in their first varsity matches, so nerves factored in,” head coach Dan Bolhouse said. “I’m pleased with the enthusiasm that our younger girls have, which has a positive impact on the upperclassmen. That being said, our upperclassmen realize that this is their last year to play at FHC, so they are going to put in the work to have positive results and a positive season.” While this roster has no shortage of underclassmen, such infusions of youth can potentially provide a spark for the team. 

The inexperience of FHC certainly showed as the Rangers lost all but two matches. With both wins coming from doubles, Mattawan and Rockford seemed to have the upper edge on FHC for the entire day. In the singles category, sophomores Megan Fox and Veronica Vincent dropped matches against each team. Likewise, senior Emily Johnson could not pull out a victory despite hitting a few nice shots. Freshman Lily Ohlman put up a great fight against Rockford, losing by just one game before falling to Mattawan in singles. Despite taking Mattawan to a third match, senior Maddie Knoor and sophomore Ella Hunnewell fell just short in their doubles match.

Senior captain Olivia Hooper partnered with sophomore Brooke Kushak in doubles; the duo fell just short of a victory over Rockford with a one-point loss in a match-deciding opportunity. Despite the disappointing start to several varsity careers, the newcomers on the team were overjoyed by the chance to perform at such a high level.

“It felt very exciting that we are actually able to play this year,” sophomore Brooke Kushak said. “We have a lot of room for improvement, but as the season goes on I think that we will do better.” The mere beginning of an exciting season posed little to no pressure for FHC, especially against such talented and storied programs. The third-place finish for the team showcases the opportunity to gain momentum and develop the young players moving forward.

Returning shortly after spring break, the girls varsity tennis team travels to Marian High School on Friday, April 16th. With the chance to display mighty improvements, FHC will battle the Mustangs in its first true dual of the season.