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Hirleman: Championship Past in Girls Tennis Produces Positive Pressure

Kelly Farrell, a junior tennis player at Nonnewaug, prepares before a match against Wamogo on April 1. (Courtesy of Noreen Chung)

WOODBURY – The sound of the ball colliding with the strings of my tennis racket as I ran back and forth to get to the spots the ball was returned to me.

I’ve played tennis going on four years, and I’ve played with many different coaches, including working with the Middlebury Racquet Club. I know how to play, and I’m skilled, but walking into the first practice, I felt hot, nervous, and intimidated.

This feeling was different from my freshman field hockey season. There was a higher expectation to live up to and more pressure to push myself to since the Chiefs have won three straight Berkshire League girls tennis championships.

Olivia Gwiazdoski, a sophomore, feels that the team can do it again as long as the stress of high expectations doesn’t become overwhelming.

“There’s definitely pressure and higher expectations, especially [from] last year,” Gwiazdoski says. “I know the scores were very close, [and] there’s some good teams that we play, but I think if we all work hard and play well that we will be able to do it again this year.”

Avery Greaves, a freshman, agrees with Gwiazdoski but notes that the recent success raises pressure on everybody, including rookies.

“I think that it could be stressful, because there is a lot on the line,” Greaves says.

Freshman Julia Gwiazdoski feels that there is going to be pressure with the varsity players, since a lot of the incoming freshmen don’t really know how to play.

“There’s definitely some expectations that are held to win, but I’m not going to be on varsity, so I don’t have that worry,” Julia Gwiazdoski says. “I do think that the other players have pressure put on them to become four-time BL champs.”

After going to a couple of practices and matches, a lot of stress has come off my chest, but a lot has stayed as well. The team has a very fun vibe, always laughing and having fun, but when they are in the heat of a match, they are focused and skilled.

Assistant coach Ben Guerette feels that all of the things the team is juggling around could be stressful, but the team is good and they work for what they want.

“The returning players, I can tell, want to jump in and play, so I’ve had to kind of break the team in half a bit,” Guerette says. “Thankfully, all of the players have been really positive and genuine — which makes the job pretty fun.​”

Senior Maggie Keane and junior Kelly Farrell agree that there are some stressful aspects to this season but the fun parts always override them.

“We lost a lot of good seniors [from last] year — we lost our main one for singles [Emma Primini], so that is definitely a little stressful,” Farrell says.

“But I will say, even though they were more experienced, we like this sport a lot,” Keane adds on. “A lot of good relationships have built and grown and we are always having fun with something.”

Since the girls tennis team has high expectations from winning the BL three years in a row, there is a certain standard to live up to — but even so, the pressure that fills the court actually helps me. It helps me make sure that I’m trying my very best and pushing myself to become the best I can be, so that I’m ready for the matches in the future.

This is the opinion of Chief Advocate reporter Ava Hirleman, a freshman tennis player.

About the Contributor
Ava Hirleman '27
Ava Hirleman '27, Reporter
Ava Hirleman is a freshman at Nonnewaug who writes for the NHS Chief Advocate. She is from Bethlehem, and this is her first year as a Chief Advocate writer. Ava plays field hockey and tennis. She enjoys writing about sports, school events, and the community.
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