Greenville tennis looking for improvement


By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 9:29 am on Friday, April 12, 2013

Marina Rupp hits a backhand for the Greenville Yellow Jackets. Rupp played No. 1 singles, but graduated last year.

GREENVILLE — When will the rain go away?

The Greenville Yellow Jackets girls tennis team is waiting for an answer, as is every other area sports team. While waiting, though, the Yellow Jackets are practicing and hoping to use their offseason momentum for success this spring.

Greenville returns nine players from a year ago and should be better in every aspect.

“The majority of my team played in the offseason taking lessons at MVP Rockford,” Greenville coach Ashley Moccia said. “These girls also played USTA league tennis in the offseason where they were able to get match play. We will have more experience and confidence this year when taking the court.”

Returning for the Yellow Jackets are Alex Wagner (Sr.), Shalom Paulino (Sr,), Grace Fowler (Sr.), Rebekah Hamman (Jr.), Courtney Pierson (Sr.), Julia Hansen (Jr.), Grace Beckman (Sr.), Teresa Larez (Jr.), Lizzy VanderLaan (Sr.) and Amanda Kerschen (Soph.).

Gone from graduation is No. 1 singles player Marina Rupp. Wagner is taking over the No. 1 singles spot this season.

“Wagner is a warrior on the court. She never gives up and is willing to stay to there for hours until she comes away with the win,” Moccia said. “She is positive, always encouraging her teammates and looking to inspire our young players.”

Moccia also mention Fowler as a team leader.

“Fowler always works extremely hard in practice and wanted to play singles this year,” Moccia said. “She played in the offseason and tried to set an example for our younger players. She has a passion and love for the game that is contagious. It radiates through practice and matches.”

After struggling for part of the season a year ago, Moccia is looking for her team to improve every match this season and win some of the close ones they lost last year.

“I’m looking for our team to improve every match and look to what we are doing well and what we can do better,” Moccia said. “We had some very close matches last year against teams like Lowell, Cedar Springs and Big Rapids. I would like for us to go out there this year and play to win.”

Moccia said her team needs to improve in doubles and consistency.

“Our singles lineup is stronger than last year, but our doubles need some work,” she said. “We are learning how to play more effective doubles. My singles players need to continue to work on consistency and developing a weapon on the court.”

Playing in the new O-K Bronze will not be any easier than the O-K White a year ago.

“The conference will be tough. We have the Forest Hills teams (Northern and Eastern) and they are always a tough matchup,” Moccia said. “Our girls are ready for the challenge and I hope we can continue to improve through these matches and get some wins. Hard work pays off and a lot of my girls have put time in during the offseason.”

Saturday’s Muskegon Reeths-Puffer Invitational has been canceled. Greenville is scheduled to play at Northview on Monday.

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