By: Tanvi Mittal — Editor-in-Chief
The reigning 2019 Hockomock Champion girls tennis team began their 2021 pandemic-shortened season April 26.
The team is led by Coach Durno and Coach Nader, both of whom are highly experienced tennis players, and the two senior Captains, Tanvi Mittal and Julia Zelevinsky.
Tennis is one of the more socially distanced sports, so it has not been greatly impacted by the pandemic. Handshakes are substituted for racket taps and lineups are conducted with everyone standing far apart.
The schedule for matches has also been altered to allow for teams to play each other twice in the same week which limits the contact between towns. “For contact tracing purposes, the structure of the order of our matches has also changed so that we now play the same team twice in a row instead of having the matches spaced out,” said team co-captain Julia Zelevinsky.
“We wear masks at all times, and, fortunately, tennis is already a very distanced sport, which has allowed us to play safely. We’re excited to see many of our players get vaccinated as another measure to increase safety,” she added.
One of the biggest challenges the team is facing is the shortened season. With the first game only a week and a half after the season began, the process was a whirlwind. Tryouts lasted two days as opposed to a week in normal years, and the team only had a couple practices before their first game due to weather.
“While typically we have about a week for tryouts, we had to shorten our tryouts to fit within the shorter season. With two years worth of new interested players, we had a record number of new girls tryout for the team this year! Unfortunately, we had to make difficult cuts as a result. We now have a 21 person team. The promising talent of our new incoming players has left us with a positive outlook for the season as we look to rebuild this year,” said Zelevinsky.
The team is also facing additional challenges due to the pandemic, but have been working to overcome them. “We’ve worked to adapt many of our team traditions to fit this very untraditional year. We have always been fortunate to have a very strong community on the tennis team, and we’ve already seen that as we have started our first few matches,” Zelevinsky added.
Sharon girls tennis has currently played three games. They were supposed to have their first game against Milford, but was postponed due to a covid related quarantine for Milford.
The next two games were against Foxborough on both May 10th and 11th. Foxborough has historically been one of the strongest teams and both matches were very close. They both ended in a 2-3 loss, with Sharon winning both double’s games and losing all singles matches. Several matches required a third set and even tie-breakers, showing how closely matched players are.
The most recent match was against Mansfield with Sharon winning 3-2. All singles players won, while Sharon lost both doubles games after playing a third set for each.