Tennis: Tide turns for Exeter Monarchs

Following a slow start, the Monarchs are looking forward to a strong second half of the season

EXETER – It was a tale of two seasons for last year’s Exeter tennis team. In their first 13 games, they only managed three wins. All of a sudden, a switch was flipped and they made it all the way to semifinals of the Division V Valley playoffs, and suffered a close loss to eventual Valley champions Mission Oak. This season they’re off to a similar slow start, and are hoping for a similar strong finish.

Last Thursday, April 8, they earned their first league win and second overall win of the season in an 8-1 victory over Hanford West. Head coach Margie Reed has noticed a visible progression in the team as they’re getting better with every day. Like most other teams across campus, they are struggling with low numbers. Last year they had a team of 27 but are working with nearly a third of that number this year.

They are led by senior captain Davey Glitner and junior captain Tillie Wendt. Wendt is undefeated in the Central Sequoia League (CSL) and apparently strong tennis skills is something that runs in her bloodline. Her dad, Eddie Wendt, is the team’s assistant coach. Her sister, Curtlynn Wendt, was a senior captain on the team last year and is now playing for College of the Sequoias.

Another set of sisters on the team this year is Sierrah and Hannah Baker. The Bakers are star players on Exeter’s volleyball team, but that was one of the canceled sports seasons this year. As a result, they are playing their first season of high school tennis and have made a smooth shift. Both girls worked their way up the varsity ladder and are 2-1 in their doubles matches together. Coincidentally, they defeated another set of sisters at CVC. Sierrah earned four aces in that match and was 5-2 in her singles matches before fracturing her wrist. She is working hard towards a speedy recovery to be back by the end of the season.

According to Coach Reed, Hannah’s serves are scary and compared them to her volleyball spikes. Last year as a freshman, she was second on the volleyball team in kills and first in aces so her skills have made a seamless transition.

Someone else the Monarchs will be relying on down the stretch is junior Karla Torres. She has dominated in her doubles matches and the tide began turning for her in their match at Selma last week. She won her singles match and crushed it during doubles. She’s small in stature but can get up and put some heat behind the ball.

Coach Reed is optimistic about the team’s second half of the season. The second half of their league games will begin next Thursday, April 22 at home against Immanuel. After last year’s late season surge, they finished third in the CSL. They came into the Valley playoffs as a No. 11 seed before knocking off the No. 1, 5 and 7 seeds. During their semifinals match against Mission Oak, their number two player was injured during warm ups and couldn’t compete. They were left wondering “what if” as they were narrowly defeated by the Hawks who went on to be crowned Valley champions.

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