Friday, September 14, 2012
By NATALIE SCOTT
Coming from a 7-13 record in the 2011 season, the Austintown girls tennis team is looking to improve.
The team lost two players to graduation, Nikki Wenick and Angela Murphy, but the remaining letterwinners are working hard to make up for that loss. Team captain Emily Wirtz returned for her senior year and is being recruited by Division II schools to continue her playing career after graduation. Other returning letterwinners are senior Sarah Kupas, juniors Katie Klepec, Ashley Hanuschak and Lartice Nelson.
In addition to these players, seniors Mindy McMullen, Rachel Davis, Julia Jorge, along with juniors Sierra DuBois, Mariah Cuevas and sophomore Capri Corbin will be joining the varsity team.
“Our team outlook is a tough one with losing more than half of our starters from last season, but the players that have filled their roles are ready to prove themselves,” said coach Steve Ward. “I am excited to see them compete and grow into this sport.”
Ward said his team has a great competitive edge and they have confidence.
“The real challenge for us is how we will respond if we lose a game or set during match. Will we be able to have the mental toughness to re-focus and play with energy or will we mentally fold? If we have a strong mind set, only positive experiences will come from playing.”
Ward projected that the league will be dominated by Canfield, but thinks his team will be even with Howland and Poland.
“I believe we have all the tools to be a solid team that competes day in and day out, but I want to see them take the next step and not just compete, but be confident in a win,” said Ward.