By Alicia Dziak

On of the sports offered for girls this time of year is tennis. This year, the team will be coached by SES PE teacher Bob Gainey, who took over the position from Frank Noeson (Noeson moved to coach the Varsity golf team). Gainey previously coached SGI’s JV volleyball team.

“It was not an easy decision to step away from JV volleyball,” Gainey said.

“I’ve been coaching at that level for 10 years and I was really looking forward to coaching this current group of players. At the same time though, prior to my arrival at SGI, I spent four seasons coaching Varsity girls tennis at Mt. Mercy Academy.  It’s a position I had hoped would become available at SGI at some point during my coaching career and I’m glad it came so soon.”

While the team’s roster is still being finalized, Gainey hopes his numbers will increase by a few more athletes. “As it stands now, I currently have nine players signed up and participating,” he said. “I’m hoping that number grows to 12-14 athletes within the next week or so.”

Gainey is looking forward to coaching what he says are “some great kids on this team.”

“Our team starts at first singles with Lily Vanuga,” he noted. “She is a very versatile player who can put all sorts of pressure on her opponents with her array of skills.  I’m really looking forward to Lily having an All ECIC season.”

Gainey added that Caleigh Trzcinski is looking like the team’s second singles player.  “She is a leader in every sense of the word,” he said. “She’s vocal, encouraging, skilled, and brings a lot of energy to the team.”

According to Gainey, Hannah Yetter is going to be a contributor in the third singles slot.  “Hannah has some excellent baseline skills, specifically her forehand, and I believe she’s going to be a challenge for anyone that lines up across from her,” he explained.

Gainey said that the doubles teams can change, but having Maddie Safford, Haylee Cerrone, Anna Franklin and Maria Rumfola provides the team with a lot of flexibility within the line-up.  “All four kids bring a lot to the court in regards to their instincts and Tennis IQ,” he said.

Over the summer, Gainey ran a youth tennis camp in Springville with the help of team member Rumfola and also team manager Grace Terhune.

Gainey explained that tennis is such a unique sport where players can come in as 7th graders and help contribute to their respective teams, and that without being totally familiar with the opposition, he anticipates Alden, Eden, and East Aurora to be strong competition for SGI within their division.

Goals for the season include winning their league. “I think it’s important for individuals and for the team to have goals,” Gainey said. “With that being said, getting your team on a banner is something that never leaves the gym.  No matter what happens past that season, if you can win a league championship then that’s something to be proud of forever.  I’m optimistic we can achieve that goal.”

The girls’ tennis team will start competitions start Sept. 5. Stayed tuned to the Springville Times for the weekly sports schedule.