The Cheney High School girls’ tennis team has held its own this season, maintaining a 3-3 record midway through the 2013 season.
Head coach Jason Overland is in his first year with the team, and said he’s very happy with the girls’ performance thus far.
“We have 29 terrific young girls and we’re just bringing a new attitude, a new energy, a new focus and a new way of playing tennis than we had before,” he said.
Overland is the general manager and director of tennis at the Spokane Racquet Club, where for the past two years he’s worked with adults and children alike. Tennis has been a part of his life since his younger years, and continued throughout college.
“I enjoy the sense of community out here,” he said.
At the start of the year, Overland worked to make his own mark on the team’s practices, explaining the value of trying new methods of training.
“They are willing to adapt and change for the better,” he said.
The team has eight freshmen, nine sophomores, seven juniors and five seniors. Like the boys’ team, much of the senior experience graduated last year.
The team is focused on footwork and ensuring players are in good position to receive volleys.
“We’re trying to find partners, we’re trying to find places for these girls in our lineups. It’s a challenge day in and day out, but they’ve risen to the occasion and in multiple situations. I couldn’t be happier for them,” he said.
Among their latest matches was a tough loss to Mt. Spokane. Overland was optimistic, however, at the knowledge and skills players received from their time on the court. Some of the junior varsity members are working through their first season.
In the singles, sophomore Katelyn Smedley is 5-1 on the season, and continues to perform well. Overland said she has squeaked out of a couple of tough matches thus far.
“She’s proven to be a phenomenal leader, and she’s led by example,” he said.
Among the doubles, Liz Gill and Rebecca Stevens, both seniors, have taken strong leadership roles on the team, guiding players in practice and helping to keep the tempo going. Overland said they have also taken to mentoring some of the younger players, helping to increase their skills.
Following a much-needed rest for spring break, the team was back at it this week, facing away matches at Pullman and Colville then a home match today (Thursday) against East Valley.
“Those teams are the best, typically, in the GNL,” Overland said.
James Eik can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.