JV tennis motivates varsity through healthy competition

Serving it up: Junior Maddy Kayser (background) along with sophomore Sophi Farid (foreground) play in a doubles match on Sept. 7. The girls’ tennis team went through competitive summer tryouts in order to determine the varsity team for the 2011 season.

Serving it up: Junior Maddy Kayser (background) along with sophomore Sophi Farid (foreground) play in a doubles match on Sept. 7. The girls’ tennis team went through competitive summer tryouts in order to determine the varsity team for the 2011 season.

Emily Wright

Swinging Strong: JV team motivates their Varsity counterparts with the tough competition.
When the JV tennis team members reminisced their season,  they said they have come a long way.
Through competing against varsity teams such as Park Hill and Helias and winning all their meets, junior Kristen Sandvos believes she was a part of one of the best JV teams and overall tennis programs in the state.
“We have played a lot of challenging matches because our JV has been playing varsity, so we have been able to get out there and play better players than we’re used to,” Sandvos said. “It feels good, and it prepares us as a team for next season and as individuals because we are progressing towards varsity.”
The JV team ended its competition season Sept. 28, beating Helias 9-0. However, their practice season was not finished until varsity played its final match at the state championships on Oct. 20.
“We keep on practicing until state,” Sandvos said. “Whatever the varsity does we do, too.”
Coach Ben Loeb believes this extended season was beneficial in motivating varsity to win another state championship this season.
“The top level JV players are helpful in our varsity getting ready for sectionals and beyond,” Loeb said. “They offer different players and different styles of play for our varsity to practice against. Their role is to simply be good teammates and promote an atmosphere of camaraderie.”
The weeks without competition allowed the JV players to improve their game while maintaining some degree of normalcy at practice to keep the varsity team relaxed. Although they were not motivated by the prospect of winning a meet during these weeks, the JV players directed their focus at varsity’s postseason goals.
“We really focus on what they need to accomplish instead of what the entire team needs to,” Sandvos said. “Our practice is always a lot more relaxed than the varsity so we work, but we still have fun doing it.”
Senior varsity member Savannah Everett said the JV team helped to keep the pressure off in the weeks leading up to state. Besides maintaining a typical practice routine, she said the JV girls provide stress-relieving humor.
“They make us laugh a lot. They’re all really goofy,” Everett said. “We have this one freshman, and she is absolutely hilarious. We bring a boom-box out to Bethel and plug it in so we can listen to music during practice, and this girl is always busting a dance move. Coach Loeb just stands there and shakes his head. It makes practice fun.”
Both teams achieved their goal of attaining another state title. Even though the top six were the only ones to compete in districts, sectionals and state, they believe that a state title speaks for the whole team, illustrating that everyone had a crucial role in earning it.
“We try to make the post-season more fun so we just give them that extra push,” Sandvos said. “We work harder during those weeks because we have to work harder for them.”
By Emily Wright