Women’s tennis team grows this semester, becomes a force to be reckoned as they reinforce solidarity

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Women’s tennis team grows this semester, becomes a force to be reckoned as they reinforce solidarity

Captain of the women’s team, Nora Prokosch
(right), practices her skills during the off season.

Captain of the women’s team, Nora Prokosch (right), practices her skills during the off season.

Courtesy of Allison Hewitt

Captain of the women’s team, Nora Prokosch (right), practices her skills during the off season.

Courtesy of Allison Hewitt

Courtesy of Allison Hewitt

Captain of the women’s team, Nora Prokosch (right), practices her skills during the off season.

Consistency. Dedication. Growth.

These three words embody the commitment, struggle and triumph that the Guilford College women’s tennis team has executed solely in the last couple years.  The team has faced significant difficulties in previous years considering the lack of female tennis players who have participated in Guilford’s team.

Kim-Anne Kleimeier ‘13, assistant coach, shared that a factor they have stressed to the players is to focus on consistency. One of their main struggles last season was during the Methodist tournament, a tournament consisting of extremely challenging and competitive teams from Division II schools, where they had four completely new players.

The trouble was that, during these tournaments, the women are on their own. This comes from the coaches having to alternate from match to match, and from some players being so new to the team without enough experience.

That degree of independence can place a multitude of pressures on the athletes.

Kleimeier expressed setbacks, which have affected the players and their ability to compete in previous years. She explained that in the previous season, there were only six girls on the team by the end of the season.

This is problematic because if a single player was injured during a match and could no longer play, the entire team would be forced to forfeit altogether because they lacked the minimum number of players necessary to compete.

This season, however, the team roster has now risen to nine athletes, which means that the pressure of potential forfeits due to athletic injuries is no longer a factor.

Despite their previous year of competing with an insufficient number of players, the Quaker women are still picked to finish in the top half of the conference for the upcoming 2016 season.

First-year Katie Claggett commented that her first impressions of the team so far this season have been “friendly, welcoming (and) close-knit.”  Claggett plays both soccer and tennis at Guilford.

“Overall, I am very excited to be a part of the women’s tennis team at Guilford,” said Claggett. “All of the women on the team and the coaches create an enjoyable, fun and supportive atmosphere.”

Junior Nora Prokosch, the team’s captain, explained that, after being on the team for three years, it can be hard to have such a frequent turnover of players.

“For me, personally, being on the team for three years, you see people join the team and then leave because they graduate or just don’t have time anymore,” said Prokosch. “It’s definitely challenging for me to stay positive when the team is constantly changing. One moment, you have this perfect team, and then the next semester, half those people are gone.”In expressing her goals for the future season, Prokosch mentioned that she strived for solidarity and stability amongst the women to reinforce their unity as a team.

“Last year, we had some people who really didn’t want to interact with the team, and that was really difficult because tennis is a team sport, it’s also an individual sport, so you need that team interaction to keep a positive attitude, but then you have to rely on yourself,” said Prokosch. “I want to make the girls feel as comfortable as possible while maintaining a good record and keeping as many girls as possible on the team.”Come support the Quaker women’s tennis team this Saturday, Feb. 27, as they compete against Oglethorpe University.