Shaler girls tennis makes strides in abbreviated season

Wednesday, October 7, 2020 | 7:19 PM

Losing two weeks of the season because of a player contracting covid-19 limited opportunities for the Shaler Area girls tennis team.

Missed time didn’t put too much of a damper on the Titans’ progress. Coach Brian Duermeyer credited athletic director Clint Rauscher for making sure everyone had a chance to play.

“He found a lot of JV matches for us,” Duermeyer said. “I think everybody played. We used several lineups for varsity. At the end of the year, I think we had 12 players start on varsity.”

Shaler finished 5-6 as a team, playing three matches after its two-week hiatus. Because of the break, the Titans were unable to have players compete in the section tournament for singles and doubles.

“We weren’t allowed on campus for two weeks,” Duermeyer said. “It impacted a few teams since some of the girls also play other sports. We switched to a health-first viewpoint.”

The Titans beat Central Valley, Hampton and Burrell before the break. Senior Olivia Wilkins collected five wins in the No. 1 singles spot during the season.

“That’s a big deal for us,” Duermeyer said. “Shaler tennis usually doesn’t get a lot of wins at No. 1 singles. Olivia was a bona fide No. 1 for us.”

Zoe Smallwood and Stephanie Le also picked up singles wins during the Titans’ 4-1 win over Burrell, which was their last match before the hiatus. Juniors Julia Ehrenberger and Natalie Spears won at No. 1 doubles to help Shaler take down the Buccaneers.

While Shaler didn’t have a chance to compete for the postseason, Titans players got valuable experience.

The goal was to maintain the program’s development.

“We have a lot of girls playing for us that are good athletes and are learning tennis,” Duermeyer said. “It makes the learning curve quicker. We had girls pick up experience at JV and will have a ton of seniors next year. Shaler tennis is moving along. We may not be playoff-caliber yet because of our section, but we should be strong next year.”


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