Head Coach Feature: Deborah Chase
After finishing off strong last year with nine sweeps, Andover Girls Tennis Head Coach Deborah Chase is entering her ninth year, ready to lead the team into another great season. Chase first joined Andover in 2007 as an Instructor in English and tennis coach. Her unwavering passion and dedication to tennis serves as an inspiration to all team members.
Chase has been playing tennis since the age of five and participated in United States Tennis Association (U.S.T.A.) tournaments all throughout her high school career. She continued to play tennis for Colgate University and began coaching high school tennis following her graduation.
Although teamwork is one of Chase’s primary focuses, building on technique is also very important to her.
Chase said, “The biggest overarching theme is teamwork and how we can push each other to achieve our goals. But what we’ve been working on lately is being more aggressive players and getting to the net, so we’ve been wanting to work on approach shots and volleys and putting the point away and winning the point rather than not losing the point, which is a big thing in tennis.”
Co-Captain Isabella Haegg ’16 said, “She stresses volleys and different strategic doubles drills, which are really beneficial. She always comes into practice with different goals. So we’ll work on doubles one day or we’ll work on serves and returns or we’ll work on ground-strokes.”
Co-Captain Reagan Posorske ’17 said, “She motivates us by making us work hard and not cutting us slack. And although the fitness and training may be grueling at times, it is what makes us better and stronger.”
In a game as mentally demanding as tennis, emotional strategies are just as important as physical fitness. Chase is able to coach the girls on their mental game because of the close bond the team has formed, as she has gotten to know how every girl on the team thinks.
“She is just a very warm, kind person, and a coach that really understands us personally. Tennis is a very mental game, so she knows how we think and our emotions especially under pressure, which allows her to even connect with us more on the court,” said Haegg.
While Chase is an extremely qualified coach, what distinguishes her is her devotion to the girls.
Posorske said, “She treats us as if we are family. It is that kind of commitment on her end that sets her apart from any other coach I have ever had. Over the years, she has allowed me to truly express myself and encourages me, and all of us, to be leaders on the team, regardless of whether we are captains or not.”
Player to Watch: Lauren Fanning ’19
Promising newcomer Lauren Fanning ’19 will bring ten years of playing experience to Andover Girls Tennis this season. Hailing from North Andover, Mass., Fanning will add depth, competitiveness, and positivity to the team.
Fanning has qualified for and competed in various tournaments throughout her career but one of the most noteworthy was Zonals, a Level-2 tournament in Pennsylvania. Fanning qualified for this tournament in 2013 and played on a team representing New England.
Fanning said, “[Zonals] was a very big achievement and a really fun experience because I got to play on a team with 11 other people and we got to play different regions.”
Although one of the youngest players on the team, Fanning makes up for this with her experience and smart mentality.
“Lauren is a very strong and consistent player,” said Co-Captain Isabella Haegg ’16. “She’s going to add so much depth to our team. She’s very collected under pressure, has great consistent strokes, and executes points very well,” continued Haegg.
In addition to her strong sense of the game, Fanning also has standout form. Dariya Zhumashova ’17 said, “She’s really consistent, and she has really good and clean strokes.”
One trait that makes Fanning a unique presence on the team is her positivity and friendliness towards her teammates. Haegg said, “Off the court, she’s very kind and outgoing and has fit in really well with our team.”
Charlotte Welch ’18 said, “It has been a pleasure to have her on the team, and she has contributed in many ways. Her off-court personality adds a lot to the dynamic of the team.”
Although coming into the season as one of only two new players, Fanning has quickly meshed with her teammates.
“She’s been incredibly hard-working and plays well with each team member. We feel very fortunate to have her with us,” said Coach Chase.
Lauren Lee ’18 said, “[Fanning] has a great attitude on court. Although I haven’t known her for very long, she’s always eager to be on the court and give it her all during matches and practice.”
“The season has been really fun so far. Everyone is super nice on the team this year and I’m looking forward to getting to compete,” said Fanning.
Captain Feature: Isabella Haegg ’16
Entering her second year as Co-Captain of Andover Girls Tennis, Isabella Haegg ’16 looks to build on the team’s second place finish in the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (Nepsac) league last year and guide Andover to the Nepsac title this year.
Haegg will bolster the team’s performances on the court by serving as a role model for her teammates. Many of the qualities she strives to embody stem from what she learned from older teammates as a Junior.
Haegg said, “I remember as a freshman, [coming to Andover] was a tough transition. I think joining the tennis team my freshman year and meeting all the girls who became my role models was an incredible experience. It totally changed me for the better and helped me become more independent, self-confident, and self-aware. As a captain, I want to be that same example to the younger girls because I once looked up to these older girls so much.”
Having served as a Co-Captain once already, Haegg is used to setting an example for others to follow. During practice, she enjoys creating a fun atmosphere for the team while maintaining a rigorous work ethic. Off the court, she is always available to her teammates for any help they may need.
Fellow Co-Captain Reagan Posorske ’17 said, “Isabella is an incredible Co-Captain because she leads by example, both on and off the court. Whatever she’s doing, she puts in 100 percent effort into it and motivates everyone to do so as well. She represents our team extremely well because of her incredible work ethic and her constant positive attitude. She exudes confidence and for that reason, she is a perfect leader for the rest of us.”
Lauren Lee ’18 said, “Isabella is such a special person and teammate. What makes her such a great captain is how she really makes an effort to support me off court as well. She’s always texting me to ask how I’m doing and organizes fun dinners and events for the whole team to enjoy. She’s so much fun to be around!”
A four-year member of the team, Haegg has been able to watch her teammates improve in tennis and has made strong friendships with them throughout her time at Andover.
Haegg added, “I think it is rewarding to see the girls grow throughout the seasons and throughout the tournament itself. It’s not just purely physical work, but also being there as a friend.”
As a role model on the team, Haegg also hopes to build chemistry between teammates through various ways in and out of practice.
“We practice during the offseason to build some team camaraderie and chemistry. Off the courts, we like to have team dinners, we work out together, and we try to get to know each other because team chemistry is important,” Haegg said. “We spend so much time together. We’re packed in a rally wagon every week driving all across New England, so it’s inevitable that we become really close. I try to create even more opportunities for us to do that.”
Captain Feature: Reagan Posorske ’17
Co-Captain Reagan Posorske ’17, a three-year Upper from Arizona, is looking to stretch her undefeated streak, which extends over two years, to potentially three for Andover Girls Varsity Tennis. Having had great success for Andover Girls Varsity Tennis in her career, Posorske has set a high bar for herself heading into the year’s first match.
Posorske has been first seed since her Junior year, and her overall consistency and energy have made her a strong leader for the team. Her results on the court always encourage the team, as she consistently contributes a win at the number one position.
Her teammates have high praise for the level of Porsorske’s play and the camaraderie she inspires within the team itself.
Co-Captain Isabella Haegg ’16 said, “[Posorske] is very cool and composed on the court, which is a great example. While we are playing matches, it’s good to see that she is always steady at number one. It really boosts the morale of other people. We look over and see that she is doing very well, she has it under control, she is calm. She also always has good energy and keeps people at practice pumped up.”
“She’s always there to support and offer encouragement for me during practice and matches. I love her positive presence and passion for the game, which really radiates and transfers to the rest of the team!” wrote Lauren Lee ’18 in an email to The Phillipian.
Posorske has made it to the finals of the New England Tennis Championship tournament her last two years, but has never come out on top. She hopes to change that as Andover heads into a new season.
While Posorske is a very athletic player, she chose to come to a mainly academic school knowing that its academic rigor would not allow her to play as often as her competitors, who train all year round.
Head Coach Deborah Chase said, “Reagan came to [Andover] with an excellent tennis and academic resume. I was blunt about the challenges of keeping up her current level and then improving her A game as [an Andover] student. She wasn’t daunted by the fact that she would be competing against players who train six to seven days a week all year long, which is simply impossible at [Andover.] Rather, she knew her education should come first, and so chose [Andover] over a tennis academy or staying at home to train.”
Even though Posorske started her Andover career as a phenomenal tennis player, she has made improvements in a myriad of areas since the commencement of her high school career. “Reagan has improved both her mental toughness and net game. She is a more aggressive and assertive player, and is beating players she had lost to in the past,” said Coach Chase.
Lauren Fanning ’19 said, “She is a great competitor, she is also very nice and welcoming to everyone on the team, and she boosts everyone’s spirit.”