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Young tennis team pleases coach with 2-3 opening record

August 31, 2011
By J.T. Whitehouse
The Austintown Fitch girls varsity tennis team is doing better than expected, considering the team is young and inexperienced. Only two returning lettermen this year are leading a team of underclassmen and are bringing in some wins.

“They are young and inexperienced in terms of varsity play,” said first-year coach Steve Ward.

The strength of the team lies in the doubles partners. Senior captain Nikki Wenick has been teamed with junior Breanna Barto, and senior captain Angela Murphy is partnered with junior Emily Wirtz.

“These doubles teams are our strength,” Ward said. “I can always count on them for two wins for the team.”

The doubles teams were finalized about two weeks ago and Ward said he was very pleased with the choices.

The girls opened against Lakeview on Aug. 15 and lost 1-4. The second match on Aug. 17 ended in a 0-5 loss.

In a comeback move, the girls faces Warren Harding on Aug. 18 and pulled out a 4-1 victory. They repeated that score in their second win over Beaver Local on Aug. 19.

Last week, the girls took a close 2-3 loss to Jefferson on Monday. On Wednesday, they took on Liberty and lost 2-3. The three losses were the singles events, but as the coach said, the doubles teams are a sure win. Wenick and Barto won their matches 6-0 and 6-2. Murphy and Wirtz posted a 6-0 and a 6-1 to take their doubles match.

The girls had a long break over the past week and returned to the court Aug. 31 to face a tough Howland team.

Ward said the young team is coming on strong. He has come up with a good practice schedule that includes the first half being dedicated to working on individual skills. The second half of practice is devoted to match play where the girls put those skills to work.

Article Photos

Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Winding up for a back hand is Fitch senior tennis player Nikki Wenick.



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