The Road to Success: Girls Tennis Head Coach Deborah Chase Prioritizes Well-Being of Athletes and Hopes to Win NEPSACs

Head Coach Deborah Chase first started playing tennis at the early age of four. She was influenced by her four older siblings and parents who already played and were passionate about the sport. Growing up, Chase played a multitude of sports including soccer, softball, basketball, and swimming. But tennis is what stuck. After high school, Chase played collegiate tennis at Colgate University.

Chase’s coaching philosophy emphasizes the importance of being prepared to succeed rather than worrying about the opponent.

Chase said, “My goal is to teach them how to prepare themselves to succeed to the best of their ability. The focus is not on taking down another opponent. Of course, we’re beating them, you know, in the matches, but it’s really about teaching them how to prepare to succeed.”

Kendra Tomala ’26 highlighted how Chase is always there to support the team and praised her ability to lead the team both as a coach and a mentor. Tomala mentioned how Chase’s positivity helps the team keep its heads up, even during difficult times.

Tomala said, “She always brings the best energy and is always so positive, no matter how crazy the conditions are… I know that I can always count on her for really anything on and off the court, because she’s more than a coach, honestly. She’s sort of a mentor, and just like a leader in so many ways. I feel like I speak for the whole team when I say we all really look up to her, and we know that we can count on her.”

Coach Chase is committed to the team beyond the court and places emphasis on having a holistic view of her athletes. She realizes that tennis isn’t the only important factor in life and wants her athletes to be well-rounded and happy. Those coached by Chase say that she wants them to be able to be successful students, manage friendships, and rest when necessary.

Mercan Draman ’26 emphasized how Chase’s continuous encouragement is displayed on a daily basis and especially on match days. Not only does Chase train the girls physically, but she also prepares the girls to take on the mental challenges of a match.

Draman said, “Before every single match, [we] all huddle up in a circle, and she always gives us a little pep talk. She always tells us to take one breath at a time and that we are not in a rush, and live in the moment, one point at a time… She congratulates us and mentally prepares us for going into singles and at the end of the match we do one more huddle, so she really makes us a team.”

Evelyn Kung ’26 shared Chase’s commitment to her players’ well-being. Having her as a teacher has allowed Kung to see two sides of Chase: in class and on the court, which has allowed her to recognize the support and compassion Chase possesses.

Kung said, “She’ll come and coach us in between points, but she also cares about our lives outside of tennis. She orders us dinner, if we have late matches, makes sure we have time to go do our homework, encourages us to go have fun with our friends, and gives us days off after hard matches… She was also my English teacher during my [Junior] Year, and I know that she’s a really nice and supportive person and she genuinely cares about each and every one of the players on the team.”

Chase’s goal for this season is to ultimately win NEPSACs but also has multiple goals that she believes will allow the team to accomplish its end goal. What’s more, Chase hopes her players are having fun when playing and working towards their objectives.

“[The] end goal is to win NEPSACs. Our daily goals are to become more intentional players while they’re on the court and particularly to improve our doubles games ability to execute at the net, and to have a lot of fun,” said Chase.