Posted on: September 10, 2020 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

By Ethan Holesha, Sports Editor

Despite the challenges of a COVID-shortened season, the Moraine Valley women’s tennis team is ready to take the court in the opener Thursday at McHenry County College.

The majority of the team is freshman players, so this will be their first taste of competition at a college level. Are they nervous? No.

“Our goals for the team are winning every game and getting first at nationals,” says freshman player Nada Hinnawi.

So far, the team has only had three practices. The season was supposed to begin Aug. 10, but the start was pushed back to Sept. 5 because of the pandemic.

Under the rules of Moraine Valley, the team is only allowed three practices per week for the whole season. The team would normally have four to five practices a week, but due to the current circumstances, the school is trying to limit contact as much as possible.

Despite the late start, the players are itching to get into their first matches of the season.

“I’m excited to just bond with the team and create new friendships,” says freshman player Ana Sutko. “And also to just be able to play again, and play at a higher level than I ever have before.”

Having been away from the game for so long, the players want to dust off their rackets and get to work.

“My main focus is team chemistry and just ensuring that we prevent as many injuries as possible,” said head coach Mike Giordano. “I really am curious to see what type of talent everyone has and what their level of play is at the moment, considering everyone has such a shortened season now.”

Although these women are coming into this season like an ace serve, they have to slow their roll a little bit.

This season is unlike any we’ve ever seen before, and the team has to find a healthy balance between team bonding while still following COVID-19 protocol.

“We have to stay 6 feet apart, and each day before practice, we have to use the Campus Clear app,” says freshman player Allie Macelli. “We check boxes that will say if we have COVID symptoms or not.”

In this strange season, there are going to be a lot of things to get used to. However, Giordano still has faith in his players to have a very successful year. One of his rules ensures that the team grows a close bond, which is extremely important to him.

“One big thing when it comes to coaching, for me at least, is no cell phones at practice or matches because it’s more of a distraction,” states Giordano. “It leads to players not being supportive to their teammates while they’re waiting to play.”

Some may say it’s an old school tactic, but Giordano believes it’s important for team chemistry.

“It’s best to have some support and have the rest of the girls cheer you on instead of staring at their cell phones,” he says.

“I would say I’m most likely looking forward to, just the competition, to see how we match up against other schools, considering they couldn’t practice as well,” Giordano says.

In a season full of unanswered questions, the team is looking to find their identity, and hopefully shock the country this fall.