Fox Chapel sophomore Shepherd doubles down on tennis training

Friday, July 26, 2019 | 9:52 PM

Carissa Shepherd, a sophomore, is one of the key veterans returning to the Fox Chapel tennis team this fall.

As a freshman, she played second singles and teamed up with Lexi Quackenbush to finish third at the WPIAL doubles tournament.

“I think we’ll have a very good team this year,” Shepherd said. “There’s a lot of talent coming back. I’ve been working hard this summer on improving my volleying. I’m putting a lot of effort into it.”

Shepherd almost has been living on the tennis courts since the school year ended.

“I’ve been playing every day. On most days, I’ll play from four to six hours.”

She also has been working on her game with a former FC star.

“I’ve been playing with Amanda Nord a lot,” Shepherd said. “That’s helping me improve.”

Nord, a 2018 FC graduate, won multiple WPIAL and PIAA doubles titles and plays for James Madison.

Shepherd’s interest in tennis began in elementary school.

“I started playing when tennis was offered as an after-school activity,” she said. “I was also involved in soccer and swimming, but my love for tennis took over.”

For the last three years, she has been playing in USTA sanctioned tournaments, and she was ranked third in the 14-year-old division of the Allegheny Mountain District.

“I play in just about every tournament I can,” Shepherd said. “The competition makes me a better player.”

She has been playing in a lot of tournaments during the recent heat wave.

“It’s tough playing in the heat, but I have gotten used to it. I’ve been playing outside for most of the summer, so I’ve gotten used to it.”

Shepherd, who said her serves and ground strokes are the strongest parts of her game, is eager for the high school season to start.

“Our lineup isn’t set yet, but I’m sure I’ll be playing singles and possibly team up with Lexi again for doubles in the WPIAL tournament. I like playing singles more, but I’ll play where Coach (Alex) Slezak needs me.”

Although college is a long way off, she wants to continue playing after high school and is considering majoring in sports therapy.

“That would help me stay connected to sports,” Shepherd said.


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