The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


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Tennis Gators prepare for first round of state

Vivian Amoia
Dani Dyer strikes the ball with backhand during her second game of her first set in the match against Chandler’s #1 singles player, Teagan Tollefson. The Gators secured a 9-0 victory over the Wolves at this home match on Thursday, March 28.

As the Gators near the end of their season, with a current record of 12-1, these tennis players continue to prepare for the first round of state on Tuesday, April 23. In order to be successful this season, the team has implemented several new practices.

“I feel like we have achieved this amount of success because of our chemistry with several team-bonding plans, and practicing specific skills in order to perfect our game,” says Belani Soto ‘24

Head coach Joy Savage Rodey explains that the girls do a lot of mental preparation in order to achieve success. Every day, the girls receive a prompt or word to journal in order to lift their mood, and get them ready to have a good, focused practice. 

“After each match we spend time reflecting on what went well and what we could improve on for next time. This has helped us gain confidence as a team and learn from our mistakes,” Dani Dyer ‘24 explains.

While tennis is a physically demanding sport, it is also mentally demanding, because it requires constant decision-making, strategic planning and the ability to stay focused under pressure. 

Tennis matches consist of both singles and doubles games.

“Although tennis is typically individual, I think when I realize I’m playing for my team as a whole, it really makes me want to fight harder for the wins,” says Soto. 

Each tennis match consists of three tie-breaking sets. In order to win a set, the player must win 6 games. Each game takes 4 points to win. The name of these 4 points are love, which is zero, 15, 30, 40, and game.

Winning a match contributes to the team score, so even though the players are playing individual matches, their performances affect the overall score of the team. 

When describing the season so far in one word, Dyer says, “Rewarding. This season has been rewarding because I’ve been able to see the team’s hard work pay off. Everyone consistently shows up to practice with a good attitude and effort and it’s been great to see our success so far.”

As the team’s #1 and #3 singles players, Dyer and Soto plan on carrying this hard work into the first round of state. 

Dyer explains that the team has been strategizing and doing extra practice during break to prepare for state, and the coaches have been experimenting with different doubles teams to see who works best together.

Although the goal is to bring home a state title, Rodey says, “I’m most looking forward to seeing their growth throughout the year, seeing what they’ve learned about themselves on a personal level and seeing how they’ve taken that into their stressful state championships.”

“Mentally, I am going in with a mindset of having fun and playing my heart out, especially as a senior. I hope to be able to help bring home a title,” Soto says.

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