NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

May 23, 2014

Amesbury girls tennis takes big step forward

AMESBURY – The Amesbury girls tennis team is not going to the state tournament, but for a program that has languished in the league’s cellar for much of its existence, this year marked a major step forward.

The team finished the year with a 7-10 overall record, which was the team’s best finish since the 1998 season when the Indians went 9-7, and the team also recorded 40 individual match victories, the highest single season total in program history.

Beyond the improved performance on the court was the off-the-charts chemistry the players developed off of it. Head coach Brett Manoloff praised this year’s team as the most fun he’s ever had the chance to coach, and he attributed much of that to his two captains, Olivia King and Erika Landers.

“They just created a morale on the team that was very positive, very team oriented, they did a lot of team bonding events,” Manoloff said. “They organized a lot of things like that, and they got the kids excited about being part of a team and something greater than just themselves”

“Because they did that, I could go about my business as coach without worrying about the kids not doing their job,” he continued. “And because of that it was much more relaxing, I didn’t have to worry about the kids working hard during practice, because I already knew they would.”

Manoloff said making sure his players have a positive experience with the program is one of his top priorities, and he’s found that making things fun has helped the team win more – which contrasts from the usual philosophy where things are more fun when you win first.

The positive word of mouth from the program has also attracted new players to the team as well. There were a total of 22 players on this years team, including seven freshmen, and of the nine seniors on the roster, only one had been with the team for all four years. Manoloff said many of the newer players joined because they heard the team was a lot of fun and decided they wanted to be a part of it.

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