The 2023 roster for the Holy Family tennis team has a mix of different athletic backgrounds that should make for an intriguing season.
In the current lineup for the Fire, only five played on the varsity, with another returner sidelined to injury. Additionally, head coach Amy Dean said three of the 12 varsity players consider tennis their main sport while the other nine are two- or three-sport athletes.
“What’s fun to see is the athletic abilities that transfer between these sports,” Dean said. “It’s their, you know, their hand eye coordination, their quick feet. Quite honestly, their vertical leap is amazing. And then just their willingness and their understanding of how to compete, not give up, always try to get one more ball back and stay mentally tough.”
Senior captain Tommy Agerland primarily plays doubles and played forward for the Fire hockey team in the winter, with one sport translating to another from a physical standpoint. Agerland swings a tennis racket right handed but played hockey left-handed, which helped with his backhand. The mental aspect of each has also come into play for him.
“There’s things that I’ve learned in tennis that I was able to take into hockey like after you hit a bad shot, you just need to take a deep breath and forget about it and have a short memory, which is good for any sport,” he said.
Dean does want the team to win matches but also wants them to feel like they have improved each week in their tennis ability. She added that players from other sports might gravitate toward playing tennis in the spring because it is a less stressful environment that still allows them to have a competitive outlet.
On the court, senior captain Michael Frost returns as the Fire’s top singles player. Frost reached the Class A individual state tournament in 2022, winning his first-round match in three sets before falling in two sets in the quarterfinal round.
“I expect him to want to be a leader of the team, to help show these kids how to compete and build matches and finish matches,” Dean said. “I’m looking forward to just kind of seeing where he goes with this season into section competition and beyond.”
Dean is also excited to see some of the young players step into varsity roles in 2023. Eighth-grader Hayden Holcomb has stepped in early in the season to play the No. 3 singles position, while freshmen Owen Collins and Michael Lizak round out the rest of the singles lineup.
“It’s just really cool to see these kids who maybe haven’t had a ton of experience really with each match so far, build, get better, get stronger and get smarter. I’ve been really impressed with them,” Dean said.
Early in the season, Holy Family was tested against tough opponents in Mound Westonka and Litchfield. The Fire lost to both teams but finished with several three-set matches.
“That makes me feel optimistic about the rest of our season as we continue to grow and build,” Dean said.
The section 2A tournament begins with the team portion May 18 and 22 with quarterfinal matches being played at the higher seeded team’s home courts and semifinal and final matches at the Swanson Tennis Center at Gustavus Adolphus College. The individual portion of the tournament begins May 24 and 25 at the Swanson Tennis Center with the Class A state tournament being held June 6-9 at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis.