Girls Tennis Struggles at Varsity Invite


Emma Schieffer

Paige Bergman hits the ball back during warm-ups for her first match.

By Emma Schieffer, Managing Editor

Shoes squeak and tennis balls whiz by as Niles West held their third varsity invite at West, this Saturday, Sept 17.  West hosted 6 teams including Loyola Academy, Niles North, Wolcott College Prep, Lane Tech College Prep, Glenbard North and Cary-Grove High School. 

Compared to the other tournaments this tournament had a unique setup and rules. Unlike a normal tournament, six girls played rather than nine. There were also only two doubles teams and two singles instead three each. The biggest difference between this tournament and others was substitutions. If one girl lost her first match, they would be substituted for another girl. If the second girl also lost then the first player would be substituted back in for their own second match. Doubles did not have substitutes.

“We have substituted at tournaments in the past, so this wasn’t a new process for us.  We want to try to get more match experience for all our players.  Three singles match in a day is a lot, so having two players share the burden worked well for our team,” varsity coach Brad Wilson said.

The #2 doubles team, seniors Rabia Chatriwala and Alyssa Louie, played their first match against Lane Tech.

To win a match in tennis, you must either win six games or win by two points. Both teams were playing fiercely, and in the end, the teams were Tied at a deuce. Fortunately west won the next point to win the game.

There was a long rally between Louie and Lane Tech’s baseline player that was ended by Chatriwala’s poach, winning the point. Poaching is when the net player cuts between a rally, a nonstop game where the girls hit back and forth with any stoppage. Despite good teamwork and communication between both Chatriwala and Louie, Lane Tech won game seven and went on to win the first set.

West started set two in the lead, 4-1, winning a point after a rally at 15-30 to, making 30-30. They then won the next point to make it 40-30. Lane Tech came back to take a steady lead after a good poach to make it 40-love. Lane Tech went on to win their match in two sets.

“We have been working on our consistency and doubles play in practice. I believe that if you work hard in practice, you will see results in your match play,” head coach, Ben Grais said.

Singles player, junior Niki Manojlovic played a match against Niles North. Manojlovic was ranked as one of the top seeds in the tournament, with both players being evenly matched. The score stayed close, going back and forth between the teams. North had a good volley, where the ball is quickly hit and returned, earning a point. However, this didn’t break Manojlovic, as she stayed ahead during the first set. The set ended at a 6-6 tie, which resulted in a seven-point tie-breaker. Seven-point tie-breakers are only used if the set ends at 6-6 and points are counted by numbers. A player still has to win by two points or get to seven points before their opponent to win the set. Manojlovic won the tie-breaker and set one.

Niles North had the lead for the majority of the second set and ended up winning 6-2. The decision of the winner of the match came down to a super tie-breaker -a 10-point tie- where a player either had to reach 10 or win by two first. The tie-breaker was neck and neck and both players were tied 5-5 halfway through. They stayed tied up until the eighth point when North eventually seized the win.

“We have been doing a much better job of striking the ball in the sweet spot and generating spin with our focus on proper form for our groundstrokes. We will continue to work on improving our footwork through Just Dance competitions,” Wilson said.

“We have an amazing group of players! They work hard and they love to laugh, sing and dance! Strong team dynamics will lead to better play on the courts. As the season progresses, I look forward to seeing our doubles teams continue to develop their tennis play and teamwork,” Grais said.

Niles West girls tennis has a hopeful future, with freshman Rachel George playing on varsity.”[Being on varsity] is a lot of fun but at times it can be a bit stressful with homework and [other] things. But I think it’s worth it because I’m doing something that I really love to do,” George said.

At the tournament, George was playing doubles with senior Paige Bergman. “I think I’ve been a little sore because of the [beginning] of the season but I think the first game didn’t go as smoothly as we wanted, but even though we lost the second match I think we played much better so I’m happy,” George said.

Come out to the tennis courts this Thursday, the 22nd, to cheer on the Wolves versus the Wildkits!