Freshman tennis stars light up the new season

Julia Scharf

In every sport and every season of every year, there is excitement and anticipation regarding new members who will join the team. This year, the girls’ varsity tennis team welcomed two freshmen, Erin Roddy and Chloe Chang, to fill missing spots on their roster after losing two of their star players.

Senior and co-captain Molly Kehoe’s expectations for the incoming talent were exceeded by these two new players on her team.

“It’s sort of the luck of the draw; every year it just depends [on who tries out]. But some years it’s not as great, so we were super lucky this year to get players like Erin and Chloe, just people who will be strong at the top of the lineup and help the team out,” Kehoe said.

Freshman Chloe Chang prepares to return with a volley against her opponent.
Freshman Chloe Chang prepares to return with a volley against her opponent.

Kehoe is confident in what her new teammates will bring to the court this season.

“Erin is a fireball. She’s so funny, so enthusiastic about everything, she’ll do anything for the team which is awesome. She’s a very strong player and wants to play doubles which is great because usually it’s hard to find strong players who prefer doubles over singles,” Kehoe said. “Chloe is super strong, very level-headed, and just in her zone. She’s super focused specifically on technique which is really important, and will definitely be a strong singles player somewhere in our top six.”

Roddy says like they are not only contributing to the team, but also gaining a lot from the experience of playing with older girls.

“It’s really fun [playing with upperclassmen] because we laugh a lot and we get along. Around school they all say hi to me which is cool because my friends are like, ‘oh my gosh seniors said hi to you.’ It’s been very welcoming and exciting,” Roddy said.

Roddy’s sentiments were echoed by her teammate Chang who is equally thrilled about being on the varsity tennis team this season.

“I’m really excited about how we get to meet new people, get to socialize, practice together and get to know each other and freshen up our skills, and learn new things to improve our game. We love to work hard together and we’re just a great supportive team. It’s very loving,” Chang stated. “We’re very goofy sometimes, sometimes we’re serious and sometimes we’re just like,‘You know what? We just want to have fun!’”

The varsity coach, Marlies Zeisler, is confident in her new recruits. She is optimistic about what the freshmen will provide for the team, and about their ability to improve further as the season unfolds.

Freshman Erin Roddy, high fives teammates prior match against the Branson Bulls.
Freshman Erin Roddy, high fives teammates prior match against the Branson Bulls.

“Erin has popped right into the four slot, which is pretty exciting. She may move into singles depending on what is looks like later on in the season, but right now that’s what we’ve got going on,” Zeisler said. “Chloe is number seven on the ladder right now. I can see her doing some challenges and moving up, but right now she’s working on consistency. She’s got beautiful strokes so once she gets a little more consistent playing out here everyday, it changes everybody.”

Zeisler is excited to see what the competition will bring this season to MCALS.

“We are traditionally strong. It’s usually Redwood, Tam and Branson that are at the top together and I see us being right there as well. I haven’t seen Tam’s team or Branson’s team yet this year. I have no idea what they’ve got going on. They both lost a couple of really decent players that were seniors also, so all depends on what they have coming up,” Zeisler said.

The tennis team has only been practicing together for a few weeks, yet Zeisler has formulated her own opinions on the state of her team this season.

“I think we’re going to be pretty good. We have a little more depth this year than we did last year.” Zeisler said. “So we might not win all the ones and twos, but I think we’re going to win deeper. It all depends on what Tam and Branson have got going. If they have the same thing, then it’s going to be a battle for all of us.”

*Photos by Josh Cohen