‘You have a team to fall on win or lose’: JV tennis welcome three new ninth graders to team

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Photo credit: Kim Smith

The junior varsity tennis team pose for a picture after a victory against Marymount where they won 16-2. This season, the team has played two matches so far and hold a record of 1-1. 

By Lizette Gonzalez, Features Editor

Out of the 12 players on the junior varsity tennis team, there are three new faces this school year. The team began their season on Sept. 20 and will play a total of five matches. The three new freshman shared their goals as they embarked on their high school tennis journey.

Dylan Schwarz said the new format and the increase in amount of matches she has to play has been difficult to adjust to. In middle school tennis, each player only plays one pro-set to 8, while in high school, most players play three traditional sets, which involve six games per set.

“It has been tough,” Schwarz said. “Sometimes, when you are really going head to head and are playing really hard against someone, you realize that then you have two more [matches] after that, so by the third one, everyone is so wiped.”

JV tennis has played two matches and hold a current record of 1-1. The team has three more matches to play.

Isley Bonney had never played on a team representing her school. Bonney has played tennis for five years, and she said she hopes she will grow her skill set with the opportunity of playing additional games and attending trainings and competitions more often.

“This year is really a learning experience for me, and I’m looking at it that way because I have never done anything like this at all,” Bonney said. “I’ve also been adjusting to the schedule of playing everyday, getting home later and managing it all together. I’m excited looking into the next four years because that’s how I think my growth will show, and, next year, I can be more focused on getting higher and higher and hopefully making varsity.”

Schwarz said that she was surprised at how the team maintains the same excitement and support for each other despite the stress within the sport.

“I love how when I’m playing a match, my teammates don’t hesitate to cheer for me — it’s really a confident booster because you have a team to fall on win or lose,” Schwarz said. “Tennis can be stressful and be individual, so I was scared to make the transition to an upper school team and it be more serious.”

I’m new to upper school sports, so I’m grateful that the others girls in other grades on the team welcomed me and the other freshman so openly.”

— Dylan Schwarz ('26)

Ursula Owen is not only new to JV tennis, but she is also new to Archer, and said one of the main reasons she wanted to continue to play tennis on campus was to meet new people.

“I have played tennis for most of my life. My whole family grew up with it, so the sport isn’t new,” Owen said. “It has also made making friends way more easier, and I think that’s a reason why I’ve seen so many people do a sport here at Archer because your friends really come out of that. Being the youngest on a team can be scary, but it also gives you the chance to see the older girls as role model[s] for you.”

All three are singles players on the team. Owen said that although there is a lot of pressure in playing singles in tennis, she sees the pressure as a motivator.

“I play singles because I work better by myself, and although it’s stressful, I like the feeling of the adrenaline and pressure being on me,” Owen said. “I think it also makes me concentrate more and focused on my shots.”

Schwarz said one of her favorite aspects of Archer athletics is the additional focus of being a better athlete outside of each individual’s sport.

“I like how this team is also excited about growing outside of just tennis,” Schwarz said. “For me, I want to get more consistent and gain more stamina. I want to become a stronger athlete whether that it is going on runs in the morning or building up strength. I want to take this chance of being around other experienced tennis players and learn things that will help me in the long run too.”