Indian River varsity girls’ tennis Head Coach Elizabeth Tiffany knew that this season would be an uphill climb with a gaggle of new players on the team. But win, lose or draw, her players will improve and continue to make strides.
The Lady Indians won their first match of the season in a 3-2 victory over Lake Forest on March 22 but have since lost three straight. Seaford pounced on them for a 5-0 victory with only one match going beyond two sets.
First- and second-singles players Ramsey Ruether and Erica Evans (both 2-2) were the only ones to earn wins in the 3-2 loss to Cape Henlopen on March 6 and first-doubles team of Kara Roach and Mandie Buet (1-4) earned their first win of the season against Smyrna for Indian River’s lone win of the match.
Despite only notching one win, Tiffany is certain that more will follow — if her players can just get their matches over with more quickly. With spring recently arrived, it still gets dark around 6:30 p.m. Matches start about 4 p.m., so if one drags on, chances are they’ll play in a cold, dusky darkness.
The clocks roll forward April 2, so the Lady Indians will have another hour of light, but Tiffany would just rather her players were more efficient.
Since so many of the players are first-year players, practice consists of the basics: hitting the ball level and to each other. That’s fine for learning to hit, but now Tiffany is taking it up a notch. She’s having them simulate games and not hit right to each other.
“The girls are hitting right down the center when they get nervous,” Tiffany said. “They’re still a young team and most of them still need to work on the basic stroke mechanics.”
Tiffany also noted that her players need to be finishers to compete.
“When we come to the net — that should be the end of it,” Tiffany said. “We need to anticipate better. If we have a girl off-balance, then we need to move in – take the net shot and put it away.”
The Lady Indians will continue conference play on April 4 at home against Milford and again two days later at Sussex Central.