On Thursday, April 28, Issaquah Eagles Girls’ Junior Varsity Tennis Team took to the courts in a game against the Eastlake Wolves, which ended in a 5-2 loss.
As our Eagles headed for the courts almost an hour before game start time, they were all high energy and enthusiastic about the game ahead. The team started by warming up, needing little instruction from Head Coach Ann Swiftney who was busy squeegeeing rain water off the courts, as she has done before a majority of the games this season. Around 3:30 pm, the Eastlake girls arrived, and both teams took advantage of the fleeting minutes before the game start time to practice some rallies, which simply means volleying the ball back and forth. Then, per the Eastlake coach’s instruction, the Wolves began working on their serves, attempting to perfect form before the game.
At 4:00, half the girls took the courts to play out their matches while the rest of the team cheered them on, awaiting their turn to play. According to Swiftney, “Our team goes into every game with confidence and a winning mindset,” as this helps them prepare to play their best. All singles and doubles matches besides what’s known as “exhibition” are counted towards the final score.
Each match is out of eight points, and sophomore Nigella Rosario won her doubles match 8-4. This was in part thanks to Rosario’s improvement throughout the season and her positive attitude. She says, “I think a big part of tennis, especially playing doubles, is communication…and I’ve learned to be happy with myself and any improvement I’m making, despite a game’s outcome.” Something to admire about this team is how uplifting they are to one another, as sophomore Becka Lowder points to Rosario as a testament to the progress she’s made this season: “She’s the MIP, right here! Most Improved Player, that is.”
Despite amazing attitudes from the team this season, something that no one can be happy about, coach and players alike, is the rainy weather persisting so late in April. Swiftney, Rosario, and Lowder comment on what a rainy season it has been, and how this has hindered team performance, but at the same time, allowed the team to demonstrate resilience and perseverance. Lowder says the indoor practices forced the team to “get our grind on with conditioning,” yet Swiftney says the limited space and resources in the gym posed difficulty because “the girls didn’t get that repetition of skills they would usually get from consistent court practice.” There was actually a week this season where the team had four games scheduled in a five day window to try and make up for some of the games that got rained out.
There may only be one more game of the season left, but it sounds like the bond of the team is strong and the connections made among players will last even after the season ends. Rosario says, “I love the community and how we all really act like a team.” The girls’ positive attitudes and grit allowed them to be successful despite challenges brought on by a particularly rainy season (even for Seattle). Be sure to come out and support girls’ JV tennis next Tuesday for their last game of the season. Go Eagles!