After ending their 2022 spring season, the tennis team said goodbye to six seniors, leaving only three members. This fall, the team recruited six freshmen and a junior transfer, restoring the membership total to nine.
Co-captains Emmie Gage and Juleah Scarlett said they made team-bonding a priority in hopes to boost morale and create a more competitive program this year. The two juniors valued the time spent on and off the court. “College athletics can be tough and grueling at times,” Scarlett admitted, “But when you’re competing with people you actually enjoy hanging out with and being around, it makes the whole process a little bit easier, which is better for everybody including our coach.”
Gage and Scarlett both expressed that they had felt disconnected with the team in previous years. “Last year and the year before, our coach recruited four girls from the same junior college,” Gage explained, “So they were all very close and it was kind of a divided team.”
“Our team typically never hung out, traveling was super awkward, and we all just didn’t really know each other,” Scarlett added.
During their offseason, the team competed in two tournaments. In the first tournament, only four of the new recruits traveled with the team, ending in a loss.
On October 1, all seven new members traveled to Birmingham Southern, and the tennis team won the game 4-3.
“I think it has definitely improved the performance and has made tournaments as a whole more enjoyable for everybody,” Gage said. “They want to hang out, they want to practice hard and they want to win.”
In preparation for their upcoming spring 2023 season, Gage and Scarlett expressed that they plan to continue creating an inviting environment for the new team.
To follow along with the women’s tennis team, visit their instagram, @shcwomenstennis.