Sports

Wolves planning team effort in 2005

Having a state champion on the roster doesn’t hurt. And that’s exactly what the South Kitsap girls tennis team is finding out this year.

Although Stephanie Davison, a junior who claimed the Class 4A state title last year as a sophomore, isn’t always around, the rest of the team seems to be feeding off her accomplishment and ready to follow her example of what it really takes to be a champion.

“Every day at practice, she works just as hard if not harder than she did last year knowing that people are out to get her,” South coach Todd Olson said. “Plus, it’s her junior year and she’s looking ahead to college and playing at the next level, so she’s always working to improve her game.”

Davison unseated the former three-time champ, Amanda Taylor, last spring 7-5, 7-5, in the finals of the state tournament, handing Taylor the first loss of her high-school career.

And now she has a chance to be the second three-time state champ in Class 4A in a row.

“Nothing’s changed. She really wants to do that,” Olson said. “She wants to go down the books as a three-time state champion.”

Davison’s state title has translated into a better overall work ethic by the entire team, which saw 59 girls turn out this year — way more than in past years.

“It’s definitely helped our program to have somebody that finishes high at state and gets into the media,” Olson said. “It just helps the whole team from top to bottom.”

But one thing that’s really helping out is Davison’s attitude toward the entire team.

“She’s a little bit more focused on the team, a lot more than she has ever been in the past,” Olson said.

The past two years, the Wolves have finished third as a team at state. Olson said the team would like to at least duplicate that feat, if not place a little bit higher.

And to do that, the Wolves will need some help from Charlotte Duren and its doubles teams.

Charlotte Duren, a junior who Olson says would be playing No. 1 singles if she was at any other school, has been busy trying to elevate her game like Davison did last year. And she’s been quite successful at it.

“Mentally, she’s a lot more confident in her stroke,” Olson said. “You don’t see her push the ball as much when she gets into rallies. Now, she’s taking a lot more control of every point. She doesn’t let the other player dictate like she has in the past.”

Duren gets the chance to play No. 1 at times, as Davison travels around playing in different national junior tournaments. And all of that extra work helps, she said.

“It drives me a lot,” Duren said. “I really want to try harder. After seeing what she did last year, I want to make state. It’s pretty inspiring having her on our team. It makes you want to work harder every day at practice.”

The Wolves have relied on their singles play for much of the past few years, but the doubles tandems have to start coming through, too.

Led by the No. 1 doubles team of Emily Ader and Melissa Watson, the Wolves should contend throughout the season. Ader and Watson enter their second year of playing together and have shown the improvement Olson has been looking for.

“Emily and Melissa have worked hard,” Olson said. “They’re getting there.”

Olson pointed to last week’s 6-4, 6-4 loss to Katie Oost and Erin Gallagher of North Kitsap, noting that last year the duo would have been blown away.

But this year, they worked their way back into the match and had theirs chances.

The doubles teams round of with Maria Smith and Chelsea Senter teaming at the No. 2 position and Michelle Calhoun and Amy Wilkins getting the nod at No. 3 three.

“Our doubles teams this year, they understand the philosophy and what it takes to win,” Olson said. “In the past, they’ve always been (reluctant to play). They know this year, finally, what it takes in order for us to be successful.”

So far the Wolves have had more rainouts than actual matches but spirits seems to be high as they head into the meat of the schedule.

“It’s been really frustrating,” Duren said. “You get ready for a match and then it’s cancelled and you have to wait another week for it.”

2005 South Kitsap tennis schedule

DATE  OPPONENT  TIME

4-11 At Central Kitsap 3:30 p.m.

4-13 PORT ANGELES 3:30 p.m.

4-14 OLYMPIC 3:30 p.m.

4-18 GIG HARBOR 3:30 p.m.

4-19 at Olympia 3:30 p.m.

4-20 at Bremerton 3:30 p.m.

4-22 at Bellarmine 3:30 p.m.

4-25 BREMERTON-# 3:30 p.m.

4-26 at Shelton 3:30 p.m.

4-27 at Captial 3:30 p.m.

4-28 WILSON 3:30 p.m.

5-3 at Stadium 3:30 p.m.

Home matches in CAPS

#-non league

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