2022 Varsity Team Photo.jpg

Lady Bowmen Tennis

Season Recap 2022

An actual season recap may be written soon.  Or I may just leave it as this:  The way too long speech I wrote for the banquet but opted out of.  Things were already running long and I could see people were ready for cake.

The Basics:

The Obvious Stats:

  • Undefeated:  15-0 - first time in program history

  • Dual-Meet Conference Champions (Dual-Meets are team matches) – 1st time we’ve been outright champions in 6A

  • Conference Tournament Champions (by a lot)

  • 6th Place in State - Best ever in 6A (and earned as a team instead of just 1 or 2 player who did really well)

 

Lesser Known:

  • 74% of all games won in dual meets (best ever, and an average score of 6-2, 6-2) across all 117 matches the entire season)

  • 80% of doubles games won (best ever)

  • 70% of all singles games won (best ever)

  • In fact, the varsity player with the "worst” average score still averaged a score of 6-3, 6-3.

  • We beat Crescent Valley, the 5A State Champions.

  • We beat Catlin Gabel, the 4A State Champions (who were otherwise undefeated)

  • McMinnville played some tough non-conference matches and was undefeated except for losing to Sherwood

Individuals of Note:

  • Three players went undefeated in team matches:

    • Paige

    • Paige

    • Lila

  • Nine other players only lost once, and nobody lost more than 3 times.

  • Mandie finished her career with a 20-0 record in league matches, plus another 15-0 in tournament play.  I think she lost 3 sets total.

  • Three players got added to the record book for graduating with an 85% match win rate:

    • Payton - 90% (9-1)

    • Lainey - 90% (28-3)

    • Mandie - 92% (47-4)

  • For those who don’t know, bagels are 6-0 wins in a set and breadsticks are 6-1 wins.  Paige Bittner was our baker of the year, handing out bagels or breadsticks in 82% of her sets played.

  • But that still left her behind Lila who had the team record winning 90% of the games she played.

  • Lainey wins the "Give me any partner, I'll still win" award by winning with 5 different partners.

  • And it’s shocking to say this, but we do actually have one negative stat for the year.  In tight sets and matches, we lost more than we won.  Barely.  Doing her best to prevent that was Mandie who was our most clutch player and won every set or match when the score was tight.

Best Team Ever:

Those numbers really tell a lot about the season.  And they are a big part of what led me to declare the 2022 team the best team Sherwood has ever had.  But it was only part of the reason.

 

The previous owner of that distinction was our 2013 squad.  That team had 16 returning varsity players, 12 of whom were seniors who had been friends forever.  This year’s team had:

  • A freshman

  • An international transfer

  • 4 players who moved up from JV

  • 1 player who moved up from JV2

  • And several varsity basketball players who had been away from tennis for months

 

So, it wasn’t a ready-made team when they arrived on day 1.  But what put this year’s team on the top of my list was that they did a really good job of making it seem that way.  Lots of credit goes to our team captains Meg and Mandie for helping create that environment, but it also goes out to the entire squad.  We know there were some tough times because other teams didn’t live up to their promises of playing 5th doubles - sometimes not even putting 12 players on court.  And it rained so much.  In all my years of coaching, I’ve never seen a wetter or colder season.  We know all of that was hard, and we want to thank everyone for just being so great about everything.  At the end of the day, the team came together and made the most of everything – it was a fun team to be a part of.

 

There was also one other thing that I think really stood out about this group.  And that was that they all made each other better.  Throughout the off-season and season, people showed up and played hard.  So, everyone got experience by playing against good competition, and they learned things from each other.

 

Jessica can crush a forehand return off of second serves.  So, players learned to get more first serves in.  Vicky hits as hard as anyone, which is tough (and scary) when you are at the net.  But all our opponents’ shots seem much more manageable after practicing with Vicky.  All our players brought something unique to the table, so everyone had the experience of playing a wide variety of good players.  All that stemmed from one thing:  People showed up.  Players at all levels knew they could always come to practice and get good practice and have fun.  In the district tournament, our #3 team took down the #3 seed, and our #4 team took down both the #4 and #5 seeds.  That wasn’t a coincidence, it was the result of people on the team making their teammates better.  Every varsity player was ready to go up against the best players from other schools because of who they’ve practiced with.

 

JV Comments:

So far, pretty much all of this has been about the varsity squad and season.  And Autumn has already talked about the success of the JV program.  But I want to add a quick thing about that team as well.  Only two words are really needed:  Dominant.  Fun.  While we really wanted to find tougher competition, this team still became the team we envisioned.

 

JV History:  The girl’s tennis team has been improving in just about every way for the last 5 years.  Over the summer of 2019, several things became clear:

  1. We were going to be too big for just a Varsity and JV Team

  2. The line between Varsity and JV was going to be almost invisible

  3. Brand new players learning the game take a lot of attention away from some great, still developing players.

 

So, we created our first JV2 team in 2020 to have a place for new players to learn the game while experienced players have the JV environment that is focused on them.  And that environment/team would be filled with talented players to make practices challenging and valuable.

 

The weird part of that design is that the JV team needs to be more like adults who play tennis, while varsity and JV2 are more traditional high school teams.  Adults play about 5-20 official matches per year.  But they have about 50 practice sessions and play about 100-150 practice matches a year.  Those practice matches are against our good friends, but we still play to win.  And then we hang out.  So, it’s great tennis that also happens to be a lot of fun.  Our JV program is best when it follows that pattern.

 

This year’s JV team NAILED IT.  From a player: “That’s the most fun I’ve had playing any sport in my life.”  From a coach: “They are all improving so much.”  And the season will live on as they plan to continue to get together to practice, play and hang out.

 

Every player in our program, from the top of varsity to the bottom of JV2, should learn from that. Simply put, if the 8 weeks of the high school tennis season is all you really care about, you are missing out.  There are 44 other weeks a year that could be just as fun and will be filled with tough tennis instead of easy wins.  Call up some friends and go play.

 

JV2:

I didn’t get to see a lot of the JV2 team this year, but I do know that the team accomplished the goals the coaches have.  Sherwood now has 15 more tennis players who can decide where they want to go from here.  Some of you will decide that tennis is fun and keep playing casually (which is great).  And some of you will decide that it’s not going to be just a casual thing for you, and you’ll set your sites on the JV and Varsity squads.  And that’s great too.  For those who want to pursue that, you’ve got a great base to build from, and we will do what we can to help.

 

This is where I usually do a big and long “here’s what to expect next year” thing.  But I’m going to keep it pretty simple this year:

  1. The district and state tournament showed how strong our program is.  We are going to do everything we can to find tougher competition and challenge the team.  

  2. Players hoping to be on the lower end of the varsity ladder should expect tough competition to get those spots.  The absolutely worst kept secret in the world is how good our JV team is.  One poor coach didn’t quite realize that and sent two of his top varsity players out for a JV match, only to see them lose 8-4.  By the way Sofia and Ashlynn, if you didn’t know already, one of those players went to state in singles.  The good news is that if you put in the work and don’t make the varsity squad, our JV team is still an awesome place to be.

  3. And #3, players hoping to be on the higher end of the varsity ladder should look back at the state tournament and set the goal of passing by more of the players that were there.   People were pretty shocked that we got 9 players through to state.  They were WAY more shocked when they realized that all 9 players were clearly capable of winning matches there.  And we know that it's not just 9 of our players who could have had success at the state tournament.

 

So, a final congratulations for everything this team has accomplished.  It really was a great year in so many ways.

  • Thank you to the players for being so awesome in every way

  • Thank you to the team parents who make it so much easier on the coaches and better for the players

  • Thank you to the parents for raising such amazing kids

 

And a huge thank you to the other coaches who do so much.  A lot of parents only see 2 coaches in action.  But a massive part of our success comes from our incredible coaching staff of 6 and the years of work they’ve put in.  Summer practices, winter practices, turning beginners into tennis players, helping JV players learn to play at a varsity level, court maintenance, transportation, weekend JV tournaments, weekday varsity tournaments.  At one point in the state tournament, our players were spread out so far that we could only cover them by having 4 capable coaches there, which we did.  So much of our success would be impossible without so many dedicated coaches.

 

 

And a quick final thing.  If you want to improve, you need to hit a lot of balls.  Practicing with a friend on your own is massively helpful.  So, go do that.  Classes and tennis camps through George Fox and Nike are fun and helpful.  And for those want to learn from our own awesome coaching staff, we expect to have options for practice or match-play 2-3 times a week during the summer.  More info will be on the website soon.