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Sports Spotlight: Girls Tennis

Our Sports Spotlight this issue is on the Girls Tennis team. Coach Scott Gurgol nominated senior Emma Kaelin, who is has lost only one match at No. 1 singles in her first year playing at singles, and junior Ally Gray, who is playing her first varsity season on the No. 1 doubles team.

Coach Gurgol said of Emma: “She’s shown her true leadership skills and dedication to our program by playing tennis her senior year when she’s the only senior, she already has a volleyball scholarship, and she’s also still active for her club volleyball team.”

Of Ally, he said: “She put in the off-season work, and it’s led to her jumping from a JV player to playing number-one doubles. She’s learning to become a team leader, filling the alternate captain role.”

Emma Kaelin, senior, No. 1 singles, fourth PHS season/10th overall; House of Integrity, Volleyball

Question: How did you get started playing tennis?
Emma Kaelin: I got started in this sport when John Boesing asked me to play on the fifth-eighth grade Deanery team when I was in third grade.

Q: Do you prefer singles or doubles?
EK: I played doubles my freshman, sophomore, and junior years, but this year, I play singles. I enjoy both singles and doubles equally because both allow me to be competitive and creative.

Q: What do you like about being on the PHS Girls Tennis team?
EK: I love being on the PHS Girls Tennis team because the girls are so amazing and everybody loves to have fun while working hard.

Q: Coach Gurgol said you are a great leader for the team, especially as the only senior. Who is your role model as a leader?
EK: My role model as a leader is one of the former tennis players on this team, Maria Popson (Class of 2020). She has taught me how to be a captain on the court and in life.

Q: What’s a fun tradition the Girls Tennis team has that you enjoy?
EK: One fun tradition the tennis team has is having a team huddle before every game. It is fun because we all get excited about the game and talk out our nerves!

Q: What is your favorite class?
EK: My favorite class is Advanced 3D Art because Mrs. Burden is such a great teacher and person!

Q: What has been your favorite retreat at PHS?
EK: My favorite retreat was my senior retreat because I felt like the group on it really bonded and we had a lot of fun.

Ally Gray, junior, No. 2 doubles, second season/first on varsity; House of Integrity junior house leader, Student Ambassador, Girls Soccer

Question: How did you get started playing tennis? 
Ally Gray: I started playing my freshman year just for something to do and ended up really liking it.

Q: Do you prefer singles or doubles?
AG: I prefer doubles because I think it makes the game more fun when I’m playing with a partner.

Q: What do you like about being on the PHS Girls Tennis team?
A: My favorite part of being on the tennis team is definitely my teammates. All of the girls are super nice and have really good attitudes, which makes practices and matches fun.

Q: Coach Gurgol said you put in a lot of off-season work to prepare for this season. What has been your source of motivation to get ready for this season?
AG: My main source of motivation was wanting to be the best I can be for the team this year. I haven’t been playing tennis for very long, so I really just wanted to see how much I could improve before the season began.

Q: What has been a highlight of the season so far?
AG: For me, our win against Clarksville was one of the highlights so far. It was one of the best games we have played as a team this season.

Q: What have you done to stay in shape and prepare for this season after not competing last spring?
AG: I’ve started going to tennis clinics and hitting with some of my teammates on the weekends. 

Q: What’s a fun tradition the Girls Tennis team has that you enjoy?
AG: Before every game, we get into a circle and pray an Our Father as a team. This is a tradition that I really enjoy because I think that it helps bring the team close together before each match.

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