North Hills tennis players show improvement
The 2017 tennis season for North Hills will be a learning experience for all.
As a first-year coach, Francy McTighe has accepted the task of teaching some girls the game, while fine-tuning the skills of other returning players.
McTighe was a top tennis player when she attended Fox Chapel and member of the USTA.
“We have a very young group of tennis players,” McTighe said. “Our whole varsity team graduated last year.
“The girls are working hard and have been putting up a fight on the courts. The scores don't show it, but I am proud of what they are doing.”
To this point in the season, the Indians' lone win was a nonsection match against Trinity. With a brand new core of players that are still learning the game, winning has not been one of the priorities for McTighe.
“We are focusing on building a strong team bonding,” McTighe said. “We are enjoying ourselves on the court. We are growing as a team and are growing friendships.
“We are going up against schools that have players ranked nationally. They have had to go up against a lot, and they are handling themselves better. They are not folding. They are out there battling it out. I keep telling them one point at a time.”
One of the rare seniors the Indians are relying on for leadership is Hannah Kunsak. Kunsak took over as the No. 1 singles player after senior Emily Hood was lost for the season because of an injury.
“She had to step up,” McTighe said. “She has really developed quite well. She is a very talented young lady and gives it her all when she is out there.”
One thing McTighe has been able to work on with the girls from her experience as a player is her technique and teaching them the little intricacies on how they can get better. Her biggest lesson — don't stop moving.
“We would like to pick up speed and power on the court,” McTighe said. “I don't want them to stop moving their feet. We are working on a lot of technique.”
Although the results may not come around this season, McTighe feels confident about the direction of the program.
“I am really proud of these girls,” McTighe said. “They have come a long way. We have some that just came out and picked up a racket for the first time. They are really working hard.”
Drew Karpen is a freelance writer.