After a two-month fall tennis season, Drake is on a three-month hiatus until it returns to competition in late January. In the fall season, the girls participated in only three tournaments, and in the spring season they will participate in various competitions until late April.
The fall season was the beginning of head coach Paul Thomson’s second season at Drake. The nine-girl roster included four seniors and two freshmen.
“The fall season went pretty well,” Thomson said. “We won three individual titles and had several second- and third-place finishes. Most importantly, everyone improved.”
The three individual championships came from freshman Nell Boyd and senior Amanda Aragon at the Northern Iowa Fall Invitational, and topped off by junior Manca Krizman’s first-place finish at the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Individuals tournament.
“I think the season went really well for us,” Boyd said. “We all improved and won a lot of matches.”
The team comes out of the fall season with more success than it has had in past seasons and will head into the spring season on a high note. In addition to Krizman’s first-place finish at the MVC individuals tournament, the girls added a second-place finish and two third-place finishes in the same event.
Senior Jessica Aguilera and junior Ali Patterson were victorious in their third-place matches, and Aragon came up just short in her championship bid.
“We did pretty well in the MVC compared to years before, and that is what gives us confidence for the spring season,” Aguilera said. “We realize that we are one of the top teams in the conference and can get really good results in the spring.”
Confidence for the spring season seems to be consistent throughout the entire team, including Thomson.
“The thing that sticks out to me from the fall season is that from set to set, match to match and tournament to tournament, I could literally see players improving as we went along,” Thomson said. “It was very reassuring.”
During the three-month offseason, the girls will still be working out and hitting during the week, as they do in the regular season.
“We are working out and conditioning very hard four times a week,” Boyd said. “That also gives us confidence because going into the spring season, we will be stronger and more fit.”
The factor that can’t be seen on paper, team chemistry, also seems to be high for the team.
“We get closer every day and enjoy each other’s company off the court,” senior Gabby Demos said. “I think the freshmen are having fun and getting the hang of it, and I’m excited to get back on the court in a few months and see how we do.”
Freshman Nell Boyd backed up Demos’ comments.
“Our team chemistry is unreal,” she said. “We get along so well, and all we do is laugh on and off the court. I love my team.”