Girls tennis dominates conference

Sophomore Katelyn Wu hits her backhand shot in a match against Libertyville on Sept. 1. Wu and her competitor were close in score in the first set, but Wu lost the match.

Jiya Sheth

Sophomore Katelyn Wu hits her backhand shot in a match against Libertyville on Sept. 1. Wu and her competitor were close in score in the first set, but Wu lost the match.

Getting ready to serve, sophomore Katelyn Wu wiped her sweat away and grabbed a tennis ball from her skirt during the top singles match at the varsity girls tennis meet against Libertyville on Sept. 1.

“I love the moments before we go on the court,” said Wu. “We cheer. One of the seniors always gives a pep talk. It’s kind of just our moment to laugh, group together and connect one more time before we go on.”

Wu ended up losing the match, but the team won the meet overall. 

“We have a lot of younger girls on the team this year,” said head coach Peggy Holecek. “For a lot of them, it’s their first time being varsity members and I’m impressed with how seriously they’re taking being a part of this team.”

Holecek is excited for this season to progress and to see how all of the girls perform, she said.

According to Wu, she has made a lot of friends this year on the team. 

“I think I’m able to connect with [the team] more because they’re my age, and the bond we have … is incomparable to any other,” Wu said.

According to Holecek, in order to help create an open team environment, she has the players keep individual journals to write down goals and respond to prompts.

At various times throughout the week, Holecek gives the girls different journaling prompts for them to respond to.

Journaling is a really good way to decompress and reflect on performance because so much of tennis is mental, senior Ellie Peskin said.

“You can sort of get in touch with your strengths and weaknesses [through journaling] to become a better player overall,” Peskin said. 

Peskin really likes journaling because she can look back at her previous journal entries to help understand her skill set and remember matches against other schools, she said. 

According to Wu, she found one of her first journal entries which reminded her of how much she has already grown as a player this year. 

“Sometimes, we like to share [journaling] answers, and if someone has a funny response, we like to laugh and joke about it,” said Wu. “Otherwise, we get to hear what our teammates are looking to do, what goals they’re setting and how we can help each other reach these goals.”

As of Sept. 21, the team is 14-3 and has a record of 4-0 in conference. Wu has an individual record of 14-3. The team placedfifth in the New Trier Invitational on Aug. 26 and Aug. 27. The team also placed second to Stevenson in the Prospect Power 8 Invitational on Sept. 17. 

“I love the competition … and I love the energy [the team] gives me,” said Wu. “It’s insane having so many girls behind the fence supporting you.”