Just a week into the season, the Red Wing girls’ tennis team has already shown progress. The final scores may not indicate such, but head coach Tom Gillman has seen the players quickly adapting.
The team is young, as evident by the underclassmen in the lineup. Nine players sophomore and younger have played in the first few matches. Given that, Gillman has allowed for 14 total players to play at some point in the first week.
“We've tried to keep our environment fluid between varsity and JV so that we can get a lot of people opportunities,” Gillman said. “We've kept our lineup kind of fluid too in doubles.”
Juniors Hannah Kosek and Allie Roe, sophomore Ava Johnson, freshman Mary Ellen Robertson and eight grader Abby Schultz have gotten most of the singles matches. Each progressing rapidly.
“The singles lineup I really like,” Gillman said. “They have not only really good potential this year, they have good potential for the future. It sets the stage for good things to happen.”
Sophomore sisters Nora and Allie Meyer, seniors Ella Johnson and Raina Caddo have consistently played doubles. Junior Lexie Pauzauskie, sophomore Aftyen Bluhm, freshman Emily Angell and eighth graders Lillian Hartman and Cienna Fanning also have played doubles at least once to begin the season.
By playing so many, Gillman hopes to lay the foundation for not just tennis skills but match skills as well.
“We're really pushing the girls to be smart, mental players and learn strategy,” Gillman said. “We showed some growth in the match court. I think singles have been a little ahead of doubles. It takes time. We're developing our game, developing our match approach. So it's really just foundation time.”
Gillman recognizes at times it might be an overload of information. He wants to make sure whoever is playing, that they remain confident in themselves and apply adjustments from practice into what they are doing in a match. He wants the players to see their opponents as humans too.
“I want them to realize that if they make small adjustments, they'll be surprised how competitive they can be,” Gillman said.
As the season progresses, Gillman wants the players to see the value in fixing an error by themselves. He’s already started to see some of that not necessarily in wins, but in competitiveness and points within each set.
“All the work and coaching is to get them feeling more confident,” Gillman said. “The minute they feel more confident, then the party begins.”
Tuesday, Sept. 7 - vs Lake City, 5 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 10 - at Century, 4:45 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 13 - vs River Falls, 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 14 - vs Albert Lea, 4:45 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 16 - at Mayo, 4:45 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 20 - at Waseca, 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 21 - vs Faribault, 4:45 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 23 - at Winona, 4:45 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 24 - vs Farmington, 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 28 - vs Austin, 4:45 p.m.