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Loves, wins, and loving wins

Michael Zhang '26

Oct 13, 2023

Last Friday, Mercersburg Academy’s girls tennis team defeated Garrison Forest School 8-1. Hisano Enomoto ’25, Ava Shanefelter ’26, and Bella Tai ’25 swept their matches as the team improved to 5-4 on the season.

The team welcomed several former JV players who diligently worked to earn their spots alongside varsity players. Coach Mike Sweeney said, “We lost our number two, three, five, six, and even our nine, and ten [of the ladder]. So it’s a different group, but I still think these guys are competing really well.” Manager Ben Cho ’24 spoke about the new dynamic: “I’m glad that players such as Ava Marathe [’26], Anezka Pospisilova [’26], and Bella Tai [’25] improved a lot last year and are able to play on varsity.”

The team also introduced several new players like Shanefelter and Amy Wang ’27. Marathe said, “I like Ava [Shanefelter]; she’s a really good player. It’s good to have new players like her because they can bring their experience of where they were before to Mercersburg.” 

Sweeney said, “Amy Wang has made really good progress. Her serve was so much better than a few weeks ago. She’s a good player. Hopefully, she’ll inch her way up into the top six in the future.” 

Girls JV tennis defeated Grier School 7-1. The team is now 3-4 on the season. Jeff Cohen returned as coach after a hiatus of several years. Ruby Shang ’24 said, “He is really responsible for all of us. We also bond through Cohen; we all think he is a great addition [to the team]. Cho added, “Cohen played a big role because last year, [the team] was more separate, and the JV coach wasn’t quite fluent at coaching last year. It’s good to have a more experienced coach this year.” 

Looking ahead, the team is in high spirits. Cohen stated, “My goal is for kids to have fun, and learn some skills.” Lisa Wei ’26 echoed the team’s hunger for victory: “Since we have a lot of new players, our main goal for this season is to win some matches, and to stay positive.”

The teams haven't gotten to where they are without challenges: the transition from last year hasn’t been all smooth sailing. Emily Tan ’24 talked about the new team dynamic: “This year, we have a lot of different players on varsity. I feel like we are like a brand-new team. We have to play more with each other, especially as double partners.” 

Enomoto elaborated, “In the past years, we have always had players with more experience, who were more serious about playing the game. But now, rather than trying to win hard, we’re trying to have fun.”

However, the team is standing firm as they adapt to the new team dynamic. The team has bonded tightly and is currently working with the mindset to improve. Arpi Karapetyan ’24 said, “The team spirit is really high. All the girls are really excited to play tennis and [to be] on the team.” 

Tan added, “We still have a lot of good players. And I love how we always support each other. Even though tennis is an individual sport, we still cheer for each other.”

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