Sports

This year, SK's tennis team will really be a team

Stephanie Davison may be gone, but don’t think that means the end of the line for the South Kitsap girls tennis team.

In fact, the loss of the two-time defending state champ could be the shot in the arm the program has been longing for.

The Wolves enter the year without the best tennis player in school history after Davison opted not to play tennis her senior season, instead deciding to go out for the Wolves’ golf team.

She took with her the experience of playing in three straight Class 4A singles finals but by not being on the

court this year, she opens up the door for many others.

“We’re a lot better working together as a team,” Olson said. “The girls have a lot better attitude about things. They’re willing to work and willing to get better. So that’s a positive that we’ve been missing the last couple of years. It’s nice to really have that from everyone – from the very best player to the very bottom. We finally have total buy in, so that’s nice.”

Davison’s absence means Charlotte Duren becomes the Wolves’ No. 1 singles player. And Olson thinks she’s ready for that challenge.

Over the past two years, Duren has played No. 1 many times when Davison was gone playing in regional and national tournaments, and she’s lost just twice in four years while playing as the Wolves’ top player.

“I’m not too worried about us at the No. 1 spot,” Olson said.

Duren has been working even harder since hearing about Davison’s decision not to play.

“In a way, she’s disappointed,” Olson said. “But I think she likes it in the fact that this is now her year. She’s a senior and it’s her chance to show everyone just who she is.”

Joining Duren in singles is senior Hillary Oliver, who played doubles the majority of the time last year.

“She’s a very consistent player and she’ll do a great job for us at No. 2,” Olson said. “She’ll frustrate a lot of girls with her style of play.”

Her strength is her ability to always get the ball back one more time than her opponent, Olson said. She keeps the ball in play and literally becomes a human backboard.

Olson did get some good news over the offseason as the sister duo of Emerald and Casey Armstrong arrived from West Virginia and could pair up to be a formidable doubles team.

“They’re a little new playing at the competitive level,” Olson said. “But you can definitely tell they’ve had lessons and have spent a lot of time on the tennis court.”

But the competitiveness — or lack thereof — will take some work, Olson said.

But he added he’s confident the twosome — Emerald is a junior while Casey is just a sophomore — will step right in and perform well during the season either as a team or on separate teams.

For now, Olson said he’s not quite sure how they will be paired.

“It kind of depends, because you never know with sisters,” Olson said. “Sometimes they can make awesome doubles teams. Other times they can’t stand to be with each other because they’re too busy fighting.”

Olson added that as the season goes along, they will be switching back and forth. But as of now, they both have solid ground strokes and are very strong.

The Wolves will also be younger this year as sophomores Leah Sedlacek and Svetlana Sorgelivia will see plenty of playing time.

Sedlacek made massive improvements from her freshman year and has broken into the varsity lineup Olson said. Sedlacek will play doubles this year, teaming up at times with senior Katie Allen.

Sorgelivia, who transferred in from Uzbekistan, will also see time at doubles this year, most likely spending time with senior Kristine Wright.

Olson said he really likes Sorgelivia’s game but would like to see her come to the net a little more often.

So in the end, Olson said this group seems to be better off than in the last couple of years.

“For the most part, team-wise, we’re a lot better,” Olson said. “Before, we always had the two top girls (Davison and Duren) and kind of, ‘Who’s going to come today, who’s going to show up.’

“I think our players are pretty steady and they’re going to work hard no matter what,” Olson said. “Even if we’re having a bad day, they’re going to work through it. Which isn’t something we’ve always had in the past.”

2006 South Kitsap Girls Tennis schedule

DATE OPPONENT TIME

March 14 @Stadium 3:30 p.m.

March 16 WILSON 3:30 p.m.

March 21 @Bellarmine 3:30 p.m.

March 23 CAPITAL 3:30 p.m.

March 27 @Bremerton 3:30 p.m.

March 29 @Port Angeles 3:30 p.m.

March 31 NORTH KITSAP 3:30 p.m.

April 11 CENTRAL KITSAP 3:30 p.m.

April 13 SHELTON 3:30 p.m.

April 19 OLYMPIC 3:30 p.m.

April 24 @Gig Harbor 3:30 p.m.

May 4-6 Preliminaries TBD

May 10-13 Narrows League Tournament TBD

May 18-20 West Central District Tournament TBD

May 26-27 State Tournament TBD

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