Oakville High girls up to the challenge

Tennis squad previews 2014 season

Oakville High head coach Bill Ebert expects to see significant improvement from his girls' tennis squad throughout the course of the 2014 season.

Oakville High head coach Bill Ebert expects to see significant improvement from his girls’ tennis squad throughout the course of the 2014 season.

By Robert Chalupny

Having a competitive girls’ tennis program is commonplace at Oakville Senior High School.

Though Oakville’s 2014 team has a tougher road ahead than normal, players believe they are up to the challenge.

The Tigers graduated quite a bit of talent last year and now it’s time for a new class to step up and make their mark. Returning girls who are expected to fill the top four spots didn’t have as significant of a role last season as they will this year.

But Oakville head coach Bill Ebert told the Call that he’s excited about the season and indicated he anticipates seeing significant improvement throughout the course of the year.

“… I want us to have a goal of at least .500 or better — we always shoot for (that) as the season goes on, and then let the chips fall in districts,” Ebert said. “I’m looking for a few of these girls like my top three or four, they played for me last year but they were either six or seven or eight or nine or on the JV (junior varsity) team. So I’m looking for them to just gain some experience this year.

“I think this year is going to be a learning experience. They’ll be competitive and hopefully by the end of the season, with the experience and playing the top players in the area, that’s going to help them later on for districts. So our goal is to get ourselves ready, (and) prepared for that toward the end of the year.”

Those top four players are expected to be Kate Giles, Rachel Kendrick, Bailey Foster and Katelyn Pike, all of whom are juniors.

Seniors who will be battling for the remaining spots include Mirela Begic, Carrie Noblitt and Hannah Paule.

Ebert cited his players’ personal drive as a key strength of this year’s team.

“The strength I see is the girls’ enthusiasm,” he said. “They know that this year is going to be a challenge for them, but their attitude is great, so that’s what I’m loving there. They want to play. They want to play all the top teams and players, and so they know it won’t be easy at times. But they’re willing to do that, so I really can’t ask for (more) …”