The Dickinson High tennis team is eager to get back on the court after last year's cancellation of spring sports. They have lost several of their seniors but have luckily picked promising young players looking to make their mark on the season. Lia Bradley is once again the head coach of the tennis team, but now has her daughter, Valeria Bradley, playing for the team. Valeria Bradley has shown promise, especially for being a freshman.
The varsity tennis team has nine players but only six spots on the lineup for conference play. As they prepare for the season, they start off with challenges so each girl can find their spot.
“We didn't play last year because of (COVID-19), so I thought it would be a good idea to challenge the girls and see where they are at and it also helps us get ready for the season,” Coach Bradley said. “That's what we are figuring out, who is going to play with who, our lineup. After these challenges we need to figure out strategies to be the best team we could be.”
Bradley has begun to strategize for recognized strengths and weaknesses of the team.
Their first three matches will be nonconference, and Bradley believes this will give be a chance to bring experience to their young team.
“We have been strong in the ground strokes consistency. We have been picking it up, but our weaknesses have been hitting on the volley and getting aggressive at the net in doubles.” Bradley said. “Glendive is a really young team as well, so I don't know if I will play my top players because I want the younger players to get the experience. … lose the nerves and start competing.”
“We have young and fresh blood on the team. … We lost three or four of our varsity players,” Bradley said. “I have confidence in our team, but what's important for the scrimmage is that we get better.”
Two senior players, Emma Dazell and Elizabeth Dean, also serve as the captains of the team.
“Our seniors are really good players and plus they are amazing leaders. … They push some of the younger ones and provide really good leadership,” Bradley said. “I am very happy to have these two senior as our captains this year. It has really helped with our atmosphere of the team … we are really excited about that because that is super important.”
Dazell is excited to be back on the court and to have the chance to lead from the front. She provides moral support during practice matches whether it is a single or double.
“Obviously we didn't have it last year, but I think we have a lot of potential. We do have a younger team, but I think if we work hard we will be able to win some matches here and there, and overall we are going to have fun,” Dazell said. I love (being captain) because I get to set an example for everyone else and ultimately be able to influence how they play and let (the younger players) know that their value isn’t if they win or lose but that they are doing their best.”
Dazell is happy to be back out and looks forward to completing with familiar faces.
“Honestly, playing every team is always a good time … I know a lot of the girls, getting to know them over the years, and it is always a fun time to play anyone of them. “
The season will begin with three non conference matches in Minot, May 16.