Cheri Ausboe, who has coached the Peninsula High School boys tennis team for 13 seasons, has taken over the helm of the school’s girls tennis team this spring.
Ausboe, along with assistant coach Ian Skidmore, quickly implemented the system that’s made the boys team successful throughout the years.
“We really want to focus on, ‘Practice with a purpose,’ ”Ausboe said. “You don’t just come out and hit the ball. You really come out, and there’s a focus for each practice, and we work on something. Every day, there’s a part of the game that we work on.”
The team lost several key seniors from a season ago, including Emily Ausboe, Sammy Lee, Josie Dunington and Erin Horkan. However, the Seahawks return their No. 1 doubles team — senior Katie Campbell and junior Nicole Lee, the team’s captains.
Sophomore Allie Barry, a singles participant in the Class 3A state tournament last year, also returns, along with Tiffany Lopez, Ciera Haase, McKayla Gaddis and freshman Laurel Schley.
Campbell said aggressiveness at the net has been a key focus for the doubles team.
“We’re really working on our net game, up close and getting the volleys, so that we don’t have long, drawn-out games,” Campbell said. “It’s way easier at the net, and if you’re good at it, you’ll be able to win more matches.”
Campbell said she and Lee hope to reach the state tournament.
“We think we have the ability, if we keep working at it,” she said.
If they can’t get there, Lee hopes they’ll have some fun along the way.
The team has its focus on capturing the South Puget Sound League 3A league title, an honor Enumclaw took a season ago.
“We were second last season,” Campbell said. “If we could win this season, our main goal is to really beat Enumclaw, because we haven’t beat them a lot, so that’s one of the teams we really want to beat.”
Ausboe thinks it’s a realistic goal. What the team lacks in experience, it makes up for in athleticism, she said.
“Our goal would be to be league champs, obviously,” Ausboe said. “We have some girls who are really good athletes. They haven’t had a lot of time on the courts, but they’re really good athletes, and they can pick up the game really fast.”
Ausboe said she believes the team’s work ethic will set them apart from others.
“When practice is over, they don’t want to leave,” Ausboe said. “They stay after and continue to practice. I think their willingness to just go above and beyond the daily practice is going to be a really big advantage for us. They’re wanting to practice on Saturdays. They’re willing to put in the time and effort.”
Ausboe is pleased with the team’s bond, leadership and communication during the early portion of the season.
“The girls are really communicating with who they’re playing with, and I think that’s also going to be helpful,” she said.
March 24at Bonney Lake3:30 p.m.
March 25Auburn Mountainview3:30 p.m.
March 26Decatur3:30 p.m.
April 1at Enumclaw3:30 p.m.
April 8Lakes3:30 p.m.
April 10Wilson3:30 p.m.
April 21at Auburn Mountainview3:30 p.m.
April 23Bonney Lake3:30 p.m.
April 25at Lakes3:30 p.m.
April 28at Gig Harbor3:30 p.m.
April 30Enumclaw3:30 p.m.
May 2at Decatur3:30 p.m.Sports reporter Jon Manley can be reached at 253-358-4151 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_jon.