Despite the challenges and hardships faced by the girls tennis team this season, they ended up with as successful a season as you can get, coming in as state runner-ups and growing closer together as a team.
“This year has been a lot of fun, but we’ve also worked hard,” said Junior Riya Sharma. Riya mentioned the team’s game against Bleckley as their most fun and intense game of the season. She explained to me that the most evenly matched teams they have gone against this year have been Bleckley and North Atlanta. “Playing against some teams, you’re either going against someone who can barely get the ball over the net or someone who is going to just crush you, but with Bleckley County and North Atlanta, they stayed competitive the whole time, making for a great match,” she tells me.
After the state game against Pace this Saturday, I spoke with the only senior on the team and captain, Emma McHale. “So we lost state and it felt pretty sad losing, but when we reflected upon it later, it made me appreciate the great team I have had and all the friendships I’ve made on the team,” she says.
Riya Sharma gave high praise to Emma and her efforts to bring the team closer together this year as the only senior on the team. “Emma has been really inspiring and helped us get going as a team. She’s the only senior on the team and the captain, so she’s played a really big role in leading the team this year,” Riya explains.
With help from Emma, the team has grown extremely close this year. They even have a tradition of going to Otter’s team dinners the day before a match. Riya told me that some of the highlights of the season have been “team dinners at Otter’s and playing ‘The Wave’ during practices.” Riya explained the game ‘The Wave’ to me, saying “It’s just a really competitive and fun tennis game where you have a partner and you try to get to the other side of the court without letting the ball fall in the middle.”
“I love the team and I love the experiences we’ve had regardless of the outcome of the state match. I’m going to miss all of our team dinners and fun friday practices next year,” Emma said to me, reflecting on her final year on the Lovett tennis team.
Next year, Emma will be going to Rhodes College in Tennessee to continue her tennis career. Meanwhile, at Lovett, she will have left behind a legacy of hard work, commitment, and kindness that will stay with the tennis program for years to come.