Women’s tennis team aims for third consecutive state title

Women’s tennis team aims  for third consecutive state title


Young and new faces will be the norm as members of the women’s tennis team attempt to win a third consecutive IHSAA State championship in their upcoming season.

Molly Fletchall, tennis player and senior, said “our varsity team is very different this year. We only lost one player last year and we have a lot of returning players and a lot of incoming players, which means there’s a lot of fighting for spots this year.” According to assistant coach Carl Mower, with four new freshmen and a new junior joining the team, one can be certain that last years’ varsity lineup will be altered this coming season.Russell.Tennis3

Mower said the team this year is highly unusual. “I can only think of maybe one or two other times we’ve done that with that many freshmen,” Mower said. “Usually there’s at least one freshman on the team, so it’s not unusual, but I think the number we took was unusual.”  As a member of the team who started as a freshman, junior Lauryn Padgett said she looks at the situation positively.

“We have four freshmen who have moved up, and last year we only had one so it adds a lot more diversity on the team. (The freshmen) bring many positive attitudes and new players to mentor. They show signs that our team can be a legacy in Indiana tennis,” Padgett said.

Mower said he agrees that the legacy of the team’s dominance is an important factor when choosing the lineup, adding, “one of the big reasons we do it is so we can build for the future and so they can be around it so they know what they can expect for the future.”

Another addition to the team, junior Samantha Galloway, will only further add to the turbulence the team faces in regard to the lineup. After moving to Carmel from Portage, MI, Galloway said she was pleased to find that Carmel’s team was a far more competitive atmosphere than what she had experienced at her old high school.

“The tennis team at Portage Central was much smaller and much weaker,” Galloway said. “I was out with an injury on my right shoulder when I attended there but played left handed for them. A lot of the JV girls who play there have never even played tennis in their life.”

In addition to being competitive, the team also works to bond and unite in order to reach their goals of a state championship. Head coach Mike Bostic said, “I think our team’s unity has set us apart from the other programs. There have been some extremely talented teams we have faced and if you aren’t united you are going to have a difficult time winning,” Bostic said. The players agreed that the strong bond between the teammates aids the team’s dominance in the state. “Having a strong bond helps us to motivate each other and push each other to become better on the court,” Fletchall said. “Out there on the court, it’s not just to win for me, but it’s also to win for some of my closest friends.”

In order to bond the team, the seniors organize team sleepovers and events. “We are really working to have more team get-togethers, and our group message is definitely a place where the girls have been connecting. I’ll have like a hundred messages in an hour,” Fletchall said.

Bostic said he is excited with Galloway joining the team. “I have gotten to know the new players over the past couple of weeks and they are great girls,” Bostic said. “Galloway brings a lot to the table and is going to be a force to be reckoned with this season.” Galloway shares in Bostic’s enthusiasm and says she is excited to play for a competitive high school team.

Galloway said, “Carmel is way more demanding in conditioning than my other school. I had to work with a personal trainer to keep up my speed as well as a physical therapist for my shoulder. Portage Central offered no conditioning to help me in either of those. It’s so nice having team conditioning because it’s way more enjoyable working with my teammates. It cuts down the amount of times we have to go to the gym by ourselves,” Galloway said.

Although she was an older student entering the team for the first time as a junior, Galloway said she felt welcomed by the girls. Mower said, “Even if we do have some new players, it doesn’t take long for them to become acclimated to the group because the group is very accepting and it’s a pretty seamless transition usually.”