Girls Tennis Builds on Strengths

Junior+Gabriela+Rodriguez+serves+against+her+Hawken+opponent.+Photo+by+Jinle+Zhu

Junior Gabriela Rodriguez serves against her Hawken opponent. Photo by Jinle Zhu

The bright sun beamed down on the Beachwood tennis courts as the varsity girls faced Hawken Upper School on Wednesday, Aug. 24.

The coach gave a quick pep talk before the girls headed to their places on the court.

The match resulted in a loss of 3-2, but Beachwood’s hard swings and strong, aggressive playing shone through.

Head Coach David Cole is proud of the team’s hard work, attitude and willingness to listen. Cole is also happy about the team’s wins, including a 5-0 Beachwood win at Painesville on Monday, Aug. 22 and a 4-1 win at Avon Lake on Thursday, Sept. 1.

Beachwood’s fiercest competitors are Orange as well as private schools such as  Hathaway Brown and Laurel.

Captain Gabriela Rodriguez, a junior who has played varsity since freshman year, is optimistic and is looking forward to working hard and improving this season.

In her first year as team captain, Rodriguez helps the coach with lineups, helps communicate with team members and helps lead practices and warm-ups.

“[This year I hope to] be the best captain I can be, have fun, learn, improve my playing [and] connect the team,” Rodriguez said.

If I’m playing a really good [player], I’m usually more excited than nervous because when you play against someone who’s better than you, it’s a good match.”

— Team Captain Gabriela Rodriguez

Rodriguez enjoys the challenge of competitive matches.

“If I’m playing a really good [player], I’m usually more excited than nervous because when you play against someone who’s better than you, it’s a good match,” she said.

“I believe that repetition leads to success,” Cole said. “We do a lot of serving, because that’s probably where we lose a lot of points––double faulting.”

Cole selected varsity and JV lineups based on differences in skill and ability as well as character and sportsmanship. It was also important for him to see how the players handled pressure and playing strangers from other schools. Cole also tries putting the team in stressful situations for practices, such as making the girls run if they lose a drill.

“We’re still trying to find out where each person’s strengths are and who should be playing what,” senior Amanda Wasserman said. “But I think once we figure that out it will be really smooth from there on.”

“I’m excited to just be able to start playing again,” said injured varsity player Arin Mintz. “And to continue getting better and better after every match.”

Despite her wrist injury, Mintz stays positive, supports her team, and hopes to play again in the coming weeks.

The team has a lot of young talent who are likely to get stronger

“A lot of new freshmen that are doing some really great things for the team,” Wasserman said.

Freshman varsity player Lali Ramadan looks up to Rodriguez and also feels “really special” to be on varsity with talented upperclassmen who can help her improve.

The team has a great attitude for the season ahead. The Bison will take on Shaker Heights High School on Friday, Sep. 2 and Notre Dame Cathedral Latin School on Tuesday, Sep. 6.