Asheville School girls tennis team remains undefeated

Press release

From Asheville School

ASHEVILLE, NC (October 12, 2012) With the addition of new tennis courts and a new coach this summer, Asheville School’s girls’ tennis team also has a new record — an undefeated season. Asheville School is thrilled about the team’s 8-0 record this fall. Almost every girl on the team returned from last year, and the new additions to the team are very strong.

“The energy of students has increased with the resurfacing of the tennis courts,” said Asheville School’s Athletic Director Chapman Kern. “Most importantly, we’ve added a terrific new coaching duo — Jody Pearce and Joe Speier. The players have shared with me what a wonderful coach Jody is, and Coach Speier provides enthusiasm and passion.”

Last year was the first time Asheville School’s girls’ tennis team competed in the 3A NCISAA State Championships. Coach Kern hopes the team will return this year. Key wins for the Blues this season include defeating Greensboro Day, a typical 3A tournament team, and defeating TC Roberson, a much larger publicschool in Asheville.

“Over the years, tennis in the local private schools has not been thriving. We’re glad to have one of the strongest local teams,” Kern said. “The majority of the undefeated season can be attributed to coach Pearce and the relationship she’s formed with her players.”

Coach Pearce attributes her smooth transition into coaching at Asheville School to the support of Coach Kern and Coach Speier, and is thankful for the group of girls she coaches.

“Our captain, Shirley Duquene, is a natural leader. Her style is quiet, but she has natural leadership abilities. She is organized, fun, and serious and approaches tasks with clarity. In addition, our team manager,Hannah Rutty, has the most positive, can-do attitude on the team,” Pearce said.

The team experienced obstacles along the way, with most of them occurring prior to the season, Pearce said.

“The biggest challenge we have had to overcome was the fact that we had limited courts during tryouts. The new court resurfacing, and the net and fencing installation were not completed during the first week of tryouts when we had 23 girls vying for a spot on the team,” she said. “Trying to ascertain tennis skill levels during that period was tricky, but we persevered. The girls did not complain once about it, and I knew then that I had a special group of team players. And I must say, we are forever grateful for the capital investment in tennis!”

The girls’ team will finish out the season on Saturday, October 13, against Carolina Day School during Asheville School’s annual Girls’ Sports Day. Asheville School leaders established this special day in the late 80’s to celebrate female athletes at Asheville School.

“Girls’ Sports Day will be special for our tennis team because they have bonded so closely this fall,” Pearce said. “At the beginning of the season they worked through a challenge ladder, so they know who is playing and feel confident about the lineup. They have confidence to win Saturday because they have improved their performance through running laps in the rain, doing squats, lunges and planks, sprinting suicide runs up the hill, and completing hard work on the courts. I am one lucky coach to get to be involved with such great girls and a great school.”

If they win Saturday, Blues tennis will finish the regular season undefeated.

“The NCISAA teams for this year will be determined onWednesday October 17, and hopefully our tennis team will receive good news,” Kern said.

This year’s girls’ tennis team includes: Carson Abernethy ’15 (Asheville, NC), Paige Bradford ‘15 (Dhahran, Saudi Arabia), Nikki Broeffle Vietze ‘16 (Asheville, NC), Audrey Davis ’15 (Asheville, NC), Shirley Duquene ’13 (Chapel Hill, NC), Avery Kelly ’15 (Nassau, Bahamas), Ellie Liu ’14 (Beijing, China), Emily Navarro ’14 (Charlotte, NC), Hannah Rutty ’15 (Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands), Katie Thompson ’16 (Manteo, NC), and Hannah Verity ’14 (Beaufort, SC).

A nationally acclaimed co-ed college preparatory boarding and day school, Asheville School enrolls approximately 275 students from across the country and overseas. Recent graduates are attending Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, Caltech, UCLA, UNC-Chapel Hill, Davidson, NC State, University of Virginia, Emory, Duke, and Wake Forest, among others.


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