Despite numerous trials and tribulations throughout the school year, the Veritas Prep girls and boys varsity tennis teams have something to be proud of as they both made it to the state championships for the first time in history.
Head Coach Lisa Townsend said she is proud of the program’s success as the girls made it to the top four, while the boys lost in the quarterfinals.
“We did better than we ever thought we would do. It was an excellent season,” she said.
Sophomore Anna Schillinger made it to the semi-finals, losing to Thatcher, and Emily Robbins and Parker Cashdan made it to the quarterfinals in doubles before losing to Phoenix Country Day School. Schillinger also made it onto the Girls Division 3 All-State team while Robbins and Cashdan were honorable mentions.
Although these players were significant contributors, Townsend said that the entire team helped make a difference for the Falcons. The girls were ready to fill in and help their teammates, something their coach greatly appreciated, especially coming off the challenges of a tough season and injuries.
“The strength of our team was the camaraderie, sportsmanship, and the overall love for one another. They all respect each other, and that’s our strong suit,” Townsend said. “It was like they have all played together forever.”
The boys varsity tennis team also dealt with untimely injuries and player replacements during state, but they were still ecstatic to make it to the quarterfinals.
“Peter Schillinger was captain of the team and willing to do whatever he needed to do,” Townsend said. “There were no egos, the sportsmanship was outstanding, and I couldn’t ask for a better group of kids.”
Townsend said that with two graduating seniors on the girls side and four on the boys, preparation is already underway for next season.
“We just want to build on what we did this year to keep the dream alive,” Townsend said. “We will be rebuilding and working with the kids over the summer, especially with four eighth-graders coming up for the boys. We made it to the quarterfinals. Now we want to make it to semi-finals and do better at individual state in the single and double entries.”
Townsend was named this year’s Division 3 Section 5 Coach of the Year. She has been coaching tennis for six years, but this has been her first year in the high school arena. She says coaching her first high school season was incredibly rewarding, especially seeing the smiles on the students’ faces and watching them work together.
Townsend recognizes the potential of her tight-knit teams to go all the way, and her ultimate goal is to make Veritas a household name in Division 3 tennis.
“I’m a proud coach. You forget sometimes they are just teenagers, but they are so mature for their age. They all have different personalities and love practicing and playing,” Townsend said. “I’m going to miss my seniors, and I wouldn’t change this for the world, but their smiling faces give me fulfillment every single day. I’m sad it’s over, but the season was awesome.”