Bigger program could boost Thunder
The Woodstock North High School girls tennis team is hoping that tennis proves to be a numbers game. Four years ago, when the school opened, the first girls tennis program had nine members. Last fall the numbers increased to 19, and this year the team has 31 players, including 14 freshmen.
The Thunder finished 14th out of 14 teams in the Fox Valley Conference last fall, but WNHS head coach Mike Buehler said he is optimistic the numbers will eventually pay off for the program.
“We have picked up a lot of girls that have shown decent athleticism,” Buehler said. “We have a number of girls with good foot speed, pretty decent eye-hand coordination and quick hands. … This is our biggest influx of raw talent, and I think within the next year or two I anticipate us being much more competitive.
“Obviously we are still growing, as roughly two-thirds of our team are new players. I picture it will take a year or two to get these players to where they know what they are doing and have developed the necessary muscle memory for the right stroke techniques.”
A big change for the team this year has been the addition of two automatic ball machines that were purchased by the Woodstock North Booster Club – one in the spring and one this fall. Buehler said they should have a positive effect over time.
“The girls have no experience with a ball machine,” Buehler said. “The machine allows us to give them quite a few repetitions, so that starts to develop muscle memory for the correct technique. … It’s really a blessing for us to have two of them. It’s going to, over time, especially with the number of young players we have, help expedite the process for us.”
Sophomore Sierra Meiners is the No. 1 singles player for the Thunder. Buehler said he considers her the most athletic player on the team.
Meiners, who would like to see the team win at least one match and would like to win at least five matches herself, said she knows what she has to do to continue improving.
“I need to not get down on myself when I’m playing,” Meiners said. “I need to stay focused and work on my serve more.”
The No. 2 singles player is junior Sadie LeFever; the No. 3 singles junior Cally Maire; and the No. 1 doubles team is junior Kellie Smith and Marissa Thompson. Buehler said he is still working on combinations for the No.2, 3 and 4 doubles teams.
Buehler said his goals for the team are simple.
“As a team, we are trying to start out by winning more games, hopefully leading to more sets won and hopefully more matches won,” Buehler said. “We’re just trying to make steady progress in terms of wins and losses. … I am looking for us to be more competitive than last.”
The rest of the team includes seniors Hanna Dort and Kinsey Weikel; juniors Alex Glod, Danielle Hurmis and Madison Wirfs; sophomores Cassidy Conliss, Mckenzie Dice and Sara Keesee; and freshmen Ann Albert, Anna Gabrielson, Tania Guarneros and Kasia Mucha.