Highland girls tennis off to good start
Oct 05, 2018 15h19
By Jana Klopsch
The Highland girls tennis team has been impressive on court and a tight-knit group off. The Rams hope to make some noise in the postseason. Back row (l-r): Kate Creamer, Shannon Maughan, Dylan Lolofie, Abby Bradford, Sophie Hastings, Shania Vargas. Kneeling (l-r): Lauren Mayeda, Isapeli Huhane. (Photo courtesy of Jeanine Elsholz)
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
If the early part of the season is any indication of how the rest of the 2018 campaign will go, the Highland girls tennis team should be in good shape.
The Rams have turned heads with their play at all positions and as a team collectively. Highland won the Salem Hills tournament, winning 115 of the possible 122 games they could have won. They also captured first place in the St. George Tournament, finishing 19-1 and defeating some excellent competition.
As of the second week of September, the Rams had gone 20-0, sweeping the four teams they had played in duel matches. Head coach Jeanine Elsholz couldn’t be more excited about her team’s performance and effort.
“I love how hard the girls are working and their desire to perform well at a high level,” she said. “Our doubles teams have had some very close matches and have played well under pressure so far this year. Our singles players have been the anchor of the team and are playing with a lot of poise and confidence. I love that the players give their best and stay with each point; they never give up or ease up. They don't ever panic when they get in tight situations; they keep their heads and play through it. That is definitely a strength of this team.”
First singles competitor Dylan Lolofie, second singles player Sophie Hastings and third singles standout Isapeli Huhane have dominated the opposition this season. In many of their matches, they haven’t lost a single game.
“They are skilled and confident, and it is so much fun to watch them play,” Elsholz said. “We are seeing a high level of tennis played at Highland this year.”
None of this surprises Elsholz. She knew at the beginning of the season that her team could compete with every team it faced. Nothing proved this more than the St. George Tournament earlier in the season. There, her team swept its first three foes 5-0 and then secured the tournament championship by upending region rival East 4-1.
Of course, Elsholz knows there’s a long way to go with some challenging matches. She’s counting on the girls to not let up and display the talent and hard work they’ve been showing all season.
“I am hoping to see the girls continue on with their focus and discipline on each point during their matches,” she said. “This team always gives good effort on the court—that is one thing I have appreciated about them this year.”
Elsholz believes the girls have what it takes to vie for the highest prize at region and state.
“We have the skill level to compete for the region and state championships; we just need to maintain our focus and discipline on the court. Every point counts, especially when you are chasing championships. I am proud of these girls and what they have done so far this year; their love of the game shows when they are on the court, and it has been a joy to watch them play.”
The Class 5A state tournament will take place Oct. 4 and Oct. 6 at Liberty Park in Salt Lake.