TEMPLETON — The Atascadero and Templeton women’s tennis teams were set to face off in a scrimmage this week, but due to intense heat both teams decided to modify their match. Instead of sticking to the normal tennis script, which plays both singles and doubles matches, Head Coaches Lori Bickel (of Atascadero) and Mary K. Housinger came together and decided to forgo all the singles matches and just focus on doubles, which is less strenuous on the individual athletes.
“As coaches, our athletic directors gave us the OK to make changes if need be and even cancel the match if need be.” Housinger said, “We played the first round of singles and we are going to call singles and we are just going to put everybody into doubles and see if we can get everybody at least out there twice.”
The match took place on Tuesday in Templeton when temperatures reached into the hundreds. The coaches and captains from both teams stressed the importance of not working too hard and it was clear that safety was everyone's primary concern, but it was also important to get out on the court and work out some of the preseason jitters.
“This is our first match and all of us knew it was important to compete because we don't have a lot of preseason matches and it's important to get the butterflies out before you face some of the bigger competitors.” coach Bickel said of the match, “So we knew it was important to get out here, but what we're seeing is that there is almost no breeze, the singles court is particularly hot, so after watching some girls have to come off due to heat we decided to just go ahead and play only one round of singles and instead mix everything up and play all doubles from here.”
The atmosphere at the match was as friendly and accepting as any i've ever been around. Girls from both teams were sitting in the scattered shade trying keep cool. After a couple minutes of playing a match, the girls from both teams would take a water break as long as they needed before resuming play. Both teams still kept a record of who played with who and what the scores were, “So the girls still have some sense of where we stand but we’ve changed it up just a little bit because we need to make sure that everybody is safe.”
The Greyhounds and Eagles tennis teams are in almost opposites positions this season. Atascadero has a strong, senior heavy team, while the Eagles graduated nine girls from their varsity a year ago.
“This year is all about teaching the young squad that I have all the skills they will need to play at varsity level. They are super eager, super athletic, and they are going to do really well.” coach Housinger said of her young team this year. This season the Eagles only have three returning varsity players, but almost every one of their junior varsity girls has been brought up. “hey have had a lot of play experience, just not varsity playing experience.” Housinger continued.
Because of how young the team is this year, it seems they tabled their generally lofty expectation for something more reasonable. When asked what her goal was for the season, senior captain Ashley Donahue said simply, “Just to play our best, have fun, and grow as a team.”