Coming off a successful 2010 campaign, the Granville tennis teams is looking to go deep into the post season with a few new faces in the mix. Varsity head coach Terry Wheeler said despite many new faces, he has a core of returners who have had regular and post season success from daughter Kayla Wheeler to Joey Lea, Garrett Brown and Sam McDermott.
Wheeler said each returnee is playing better tennis than they did last year. “There’s more velocity on their serves, their all-around game has improved,” he said.
“There are 15 kids, but a lot of new faces,” he said. With no junior varsity or modified tennis teams, Wheeler said, players often come to the varsity with no formal tennis experience.
Since last season Wheeler said he was not sure what other school teams look like after graduation losses that dealt Granville a blow, but he expects to see plenty of competition for the team. “It’s hard to say what anyone else has got,” Wheeler said. That said, Greenwich still has at least one excellent player coming back this spring. The team, unlike Granville, has a boys team only in the spring and a girls team in the fall. Granville is a mixed boys and girls team.
“But we’ve got our Joey kid,” referring to Granville’s ace Leah. Wheeler said he can’t concern himself with what the rest of the league does. All he plans to do is teach the team to play. “And they’ll play against whoever’s there,” he said.
Although some of the kids have never played before, Wheeler said all of the players but take coaching really well and as a result can improve all season long. “All I have to do is tell them something and they’ll fix it. They’re learning a lot,” he said.
As far as serving, Wheeler said that portion of the game is not something you can just pick up. “It’s all muscle memory, you’ve got to go out and hit something like 2,000 serves to get that down,” he said,
Given the relative youth and inexperience of the team, Wheeler said it does nothing to diminish his expectations. “I still expect to be in the top three in the league, top three in the section – we will be competitive. Sometimes it will be close but we still expect to be right in it every time,” he said.
“We’re going to have to make a team out of what we’ve got, that’s all there is to it,” Wheeler said.