CEDAR RAPIDS — With experience comes high expectations.
The Xavier girls’ tennis team will return all six of its varsity athletes from the 2017 season — seniors Nina Marquardt, Camryn McPherson and Sarah Schirm, juniors Madeline Abu-Nameh and Emily Jasper and sophomore Sarah Abu-Nameh. Freshman Miyako Coffey also looks to contribute to the varsity squad.
“Returning all of our varsity players will really help,” Jasper said. “Everyone will have some experience and be comfortable playing at the varsity level.”
Coffey hopes to be a big addition and key player for the experienced Saints.
“Miyako is a really strong player,” Jasper said. “She will add a lot of depth to the team this year and will push the rest of the team to get better.”
Marquardt, the Saints’ top player, has big expectations set for the season, but still wants to be a role model for younger players.
“I would tell younger players to play year-round,” Marquardt said. “The offseason is when you improve and the season is when you perform. Progress is slow and does not happen all at once, so you have to wait and trust the process.”
Xavier’s top doubles players are Marquardt and Jasper. They fell short last year, but hope for a better ending this year.
“Nina and I want to win state doubles,” Jasper said. “We know we have what it takes to win, (but) we will just have to work hard for it. When we are together we have fun, so hopefully that will transfer to the court.”
The tennis season officially started March 12, but the Saints have been working all year long.
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“We have been having practices as a team ever since the end of our last season,” Marquardt said. “We all play a lot out of season to prepare for a successful season, which pushes every player to compete and get better.”
The Saints’ first dual is at home against defending Class 1A state champion Waterloo Columbus Catholic on April 2 at 4 p.m.