Andover Girls Tennis secured a 9-6 win at Groton, kicking its season off with a 1-0 record.
Playing on Groton’s home courts required adjustment in both shot preparation and speed, according to sixth seed Hannah Zhang ’21.
Zhang said, “We weren’t used to their courts [because] the ball moved a lot faster on their courts compared to ours. We had to prepare earlier for [our] shots because of the faster speed of the ball. Also, it was really easy to slip and slide on the court.”
Zhang and Charlotte Welch ’18 suffered a loss in their doubles match in a score of 3-8, but Zhang made a comeback in her singles match and dominated with scores of 6-1 and 6-4. According to Zhang, her doubles match was especially challenging.
Zhang continued, “We played doubles [before singles], so we weren’t used to their courts yet. Also, in doubles we definitely need to work more on hitting the ball earlier and working on consistency since we [missed] shots that we could normally return. It was also our first doubles match with new partners so we were still getting used to working with each other.”
First seed Reimi Kusaka ’21 outplayed her opponents in both her doubles and singles matches. Kusaka and Lauren Fanning ’19 won their doubles match by a close score of 9-7 and Kusaka managed to edge past her opponent with scores of 7-6 and 6-2 in her singles matches.
According to Kusaka, the team’s outstanding camaraderie during the match helped Andover secure its first win.
Kusaka said, “Groton has a strong team and the matches were definitely not easy, but the team continued to support each other. This led us to win our match today.”
Supporting one another will continue to be one of the team’s main goals and focuses for the rest of the season.
Kusaka continued, “Some team goals and focuses for this season is to continue doing our best in our matches while supporting each other all the time. Even if we play our own individual matches, each of us represents our team, so it is important to work as a whole. Already, I have received a tremendous amount of care and support from my teammates and coaches, and I hope that it continues to be this way.”
According to third seed Fanning, who won her singles matches in 7-5 and 6-3, another goal for the team this season will be to show efficiency in strategy during their match.
Fanning said, “I think a team goal for this season is our efficiency during matches, and making sure that we are constantly analyzing our strategies so that we have a good idea [of] what we are going to do during a match, instead of just going in blind without any strategy. So overall, we’re working on focus and strategy during matches to make sure we are efficient as possible in competition.”
According to Zhang, the team’s serves were also one of the reasons why the team defeated its opponents, especially in the singles matches.
Zhang said, “I think [our] serves [were] one of the things that helped against the singles opponents because [Groton] hit [its] shots really low and so when they returned [our] faster serves, [their] ball would go into the net.”
The team is already looking to the rest of the season and finding areas for improvement, according to Zhang and Fanning.
Zhang said, “We still have about two weeks before our next match, so we’ll be able to work a lot on our doubles and consistency. Also we will have a lot of time to practice on the outdoor courts before the match.”
Fanning continued, “In our next match I think we will look to learn to adjust quicker to our opponents’ style of play, as well as the courts we are playing on. Playing at Groton today was a bit tricky at first because their courts are very fast, so in the future if we play on courts like that again we will try to work on becoming adjusted to something like that more quickly.”
Andover Girls Tennis will face St. Paul’s on April 18.