Searching for Success


Brooklyn Branstiter, Staff Writer

Despite all of the uncertainty surrounding the 2021 girls tennis season due to COVID-19, one thing that is for sure is that the Lady Bulldogs are once again filled with talent on the courts. The girls on the team have been preparing for a great season for the last couple of months. Head coach Scott Mills hosted off-season practices at the Alliance Recreational Center that were optional for players. The girls have also been out on the courts practicing since the 1st of March. All of them are looking forward to a great season full of success and fun!

The beginning of the Lady Bulldogs season has been very trying for all of the players. There have been many days where they have no choice but to practice inside at the Alliance Middle School due to cold temperatures or even blizzards. Where tennis is an outdoor sport that requires being on a court to get dimensions, shots and serves down, the girls have dealt with being inside very well. All of the players show up to the indoor gym ready to practice without complaining. 

The Lady Bulldog tennis team has four seniors, three juniors, two sophomores and four freshmen. Two of the four seniors are playing tennis at the high school for their first year, this year. Due to the COVID-19 shutdowns last year, the sophomores of the team will be playing their first matches with the high school for the first time, like the freshmen. This also put the juniors and returning seniors back a year. With this in mind, the team is very young compared to some other competing schools. The lack of returning varsity players did not put the team down. They take the opportunity that they have to play and are making daily improvements. 

Payten Gibson, a senior at AHS, has played tennis for four years. She has been on the varsity team for two years, her sophomore year and this year. She stated, “I think I would have been a varsity player for my junior year as well, but our tennis season got canceled due to COVID-19.” She said with confidence, “I think the season will go great! We do have a lot of underclassmen, but they are improving every day and are becoming very good.” Gibson left the interview off with some of her personal goals for the year. She said, “My personal goals for my last year of high school tennis are to keep improving and place at a tournament. I am also hoping to make it to state.” 

The Lady Bulldog tennis team has their first games at home, on March 30th. The SPUD wishes each player good luck and a season full of success. Make sure to go to our home courts to see what these girls can do!