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Experience remains key for Auburn Mountainview | Prep girls tennis
This season the Auburn Mountainview girls tennis team comes in stacked with returning players, including No. 1 singles player and returning state qualifier, senior Maggie Henderson.
"The team is pretty experienced, I have lots of seniors," coach Kay Lorraine said.
With five seniors on the roster, coupled with a strong work ethic, leadership and team bond, Lorraine said, she expects big things from the squad this season.
"They're all excellent kids, good students and hard workers," Lorraine said. "They're a good group of kids that want to hang out together and work hard and play hard. They like winning."
At the No. 1 singles spot the Lions look to co-captain Henderson, who has made the trip to state for the past three years. Last season she went 1-2 at the state 3A singles competition, her first without her doubles partner and sister Molly Henderson.
"It was really good, it was a learning experience," Henderson said of last year's state tourney. "It was very different, though. Since you're the only one on the court you don't have anyone to strategize with. You don't have anyone to help keep your momentum up."
Lorraine said she expected big things from Henderson this year.
"She's better this year," Lorraine said. "She's more patient, she doesn't have as many unforced errors. She's been playing in a lot more tournaments and she's faster on her feet also. She really worked hard this past year on her footwork."
After Henderson, the Lions look to senior Alicia Jow at the No. 2 singles spot.
In doubles, the squad looks to ride whoever has the hot hand, Lorraine said.
"I'm just looking to mix it up in doubles, but our next set of players are Nichola Usher (senior, co-captain), Nicole Rogers (senior), Alexia Hosier (senior),Yvette Tadeo (junior) and Alina Bolshakova (junior). Of those five it's a toss up of who is going to play where for the rest of the season."
For Henderson, who said she hopes to place at state this season, the real joy comes not from how the team does on the court, but how they bond off the court.
"We've been trying to do more bonding things this year," she said. "We have team dinners and things like that to help us come together. And we're all working together really well."