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Olmsted Falls and North Olmsted girls tennis teams overcome adversity

1st doubles (Gabby Garlitz/Paige Bockman vs. Rachel Moell/Agrima Pradhan)  6-0, 6-0 Olmsted Falls

The Olmsted Falls first-doubles team of Gabby Garlitz and Paige Bockman, left, shake hands with North Olmsted's Rachel Moell and Agrima Pradhan after the Bulldogs' 6-0, 6-0 victory. (West Life photo by Stefanie Kilnapp)

Stefanie Kilnapp

Both Olmsted Falls’ and North Olmsted’s girls tennis teams are optimistic about the continuation of their season. New players and big changes have been brought to both teams and it has, in turn, made both teams stronger.

Olmsted Falls’ boys tennis team had a shortage of players in the previous season, and their solution was to bring in some girls. Most would have thought this could spark some controversy and stir up the pot, but it actually turned out to be the “most enjoyable season,” according to Bulldogs head coach Laura Graham. She describes the experience as a “win-win,” and tells of how everyone got along so well.

Despite having a bad show of numbers, Graham chuckled and said, “Who knew losing could be this fun?”

The four sophomore girls who contributed to the boys tennis program will remain on the boys team for the upcoming season to work around other extracurricular activities, but will stay active with the girls team by scoring matches and keeping stats.

Olmsted Falls’ girls tennis team plans to continue its success from last season, finishing third in the division and 11-5 overall. According to Graham, last year’s squad set the bar high for the girls coming in this year.

Team captains Katy Copp, Gabby Garlitz and Samantha Traffis, who played under Graham for four years, are all showing high positivity in efforts to improve the team as role models who go “above and beyond to help their teammates.” Every girl on the team impressed Graham with their training twelve months out of the year, and the hard work doesn’t stop there. Graham said the Bulldogs are “a very athletic group,” and she added that they “worked on a lot of footwork this year.” They extensively prepared themselves by working on running, weights and speed drills in addition to hitting tennis balls. The girls’ goal this season is to match or better last year’s record.

“We don’t want to place lower than third; we worked too hard,” Graham added.

Graham has been coaching tennis for 15 years, and she confidently said, “I love what I do.” After serving the Olmsted Falls tennis program for so long, she has only one request (of the administration): Build new tennis courts.

North Olmsted’s team returns this season with only three letter winners: Mandy Minch, Rachel Moell and Mina Diamntis. This creates an almost entirely new team, in need of experience. The fresh players have been proving themselves to be quite an advantage to the team.

Eagles head coach Eric Hodge pointed out the stamina in one of the youngsters. “Delany Sherman, one of the new freshmen, won a three-hour, three-set match this week.” Hodge then looked ahead and said, “We’re doing good, still early in the season. In general, our new varsity players are doing a good job of stepping up.”

Aug. 22: Olmsted Falls 4, North Olmsted 1

Scores (Winner’s score and name first)

1st singles (Mandy Minch versus Sarah Stark), 7-6, 6-2 North Olmsted

2nd singles (Holly Taylor versus Mina Diamntis), 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 Olmsted Falls

3rd singles (Michelle Quist versus Delany Sherman), 6-1, 6-0 Olmsted Falls

1st doubles (Gabby Garlitz/Paige Bockman versus Rachel Moell/Agrima Pradhan), 6-0, 6-0 Olmsted Falls

2nd doubles (Sam Traffis/Michelle Bertrand versus Kelly Luck/Kayla Conway), 6-2, 6-1 Olmsted Falls

 

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