The voices of the girls on the 7/8 Grade Tennis team and the bright yellow tennis balls bounced up and down the Multipurpose Courts throughout the fall 2012 season.
With help of Alumna and Assistant Coach Allison Lee ’07, who returned to Marlborough this year, and Head Coach and Athletics Assistant Shaina Zaidi ’03, the 7/8 Tennis team won six matches, lost four and finished in 3rd place in the Junior High Delphic League.
When she was a student, Lee played on the 7/8 Tennis teams and made the Varsity team as a freshman, continuing to play tennis for the rest of her high school years.
“Coming back has made me realize how much I missed being away from Marlborough,” Lee said. Although Lee was recruited to Tufts, Middlebury and Johns Hopkins, she ended up choosing to apply early decision to Hopkins, where she played doubles and singles for two years. After college, Lee did some coaching this past summer at the Billy Martin UCLA Tennis Camp.
With the help of Lee, the Tennis team grew stronger and in size this year, with 17 girls on the team, up from the 12 last year. Four students also compete in the Junior Tournaments of the USTA (United States Tennis Association). With two coaches this year, the team was able not only to take more girls on the team but also to receive more specific feedback and more personal help for each athlete.
According to Zaidi, the players this year ranged in skill level and so she was able to keep everyone on the team and not make any cuts. She said she and Lee thought of this year as a developmental year when girls could focus on learning and developing their skills so as to prepare for the six-year tennis program and the Junior Varsity and Varsity teams.
“We had a few key return[ing eighth graders] this year, but all in all had a lot of new players with not as much experience. It is exciting to see how the Tennis program is growing, and getting back to the top,” Zaidi said.
Along with the coaches, the eighth graders on the team for the second year also stood as important helpers. “[Returning eighth graders already] know how the opposing school’s teams play, so that helped a lot, and I am able to be a role model to the new seventh graders on and off of the courts,” Abby Schmidt ’16 said.
Although having so many girls on the team was nice, Zaidi said she also ran into a few difficulties through the season. Because there are only three tennis courts, it was difficult for Zaidi to manage the time and to make sure each girl had the experience she was hoping for along with sufficient practice time