Bryn Mawr >> Each high school tennis season brings new challenges and the Baldwin School squad is no exception to this rule.
For the first time in three years, Baldwin head coach Jeff Sacks had to establish a new singles line-up due to the departure of Emma Sass, who graduated following three years at the first singles spot and is now playing tennis for Washington University in St. Louis.
With Lauren Wang (at second singles) and Francesca Douglas (at third singles) leading the group of Baldwin’s key returnees, Sacks was eagerly anticipating the challenge matches to see who would replace Sass at the top of the ladder.
When the challenge matches were completed, Sacks was surprised to see sophomore Torrie Smith, who played first doubles last season, earn the top singles spot.
“I believe my rise from first doubles to first singles came from practicing over and over and working really hard this summer,” said Smith, who transferred from Episcopal Academy after eighth grade. “I played a lot of matches while working on my consistency and the development of a better serve with my coach.”
“Having a new first singles player is always challenging for the player, team and coach, but Torrie earned the position and is ready,” Sacks said. “Our second and third singles players have experience and will help us tremendously throughout the season.”
Smith started her season posting a victory in her team’s come-from-behind 4-3 win over Harriton. Trailing 3-1 the Polar Bears would win three of the four doubles matches to take the win. Alexa Decidue and Presley Daggett won at second doubles, Josephine Gantz and Grace Lavin won at third doubles while Maya Hairston and Ella Goldman won at fourth doubles.
With co-captains Francesca Douglas and Caroline Buchner following in the footsteps of their predecessors, the Polar Bears realize there is plenty of work ahead in their preparation to challenge defending champion Penn Charter and the rest of the league in their quest towards their third Inter-Ac title. Last season Baldwin finished 13-2 overall and 5-1 in the Inter-Ac, good for second place.
To accompany the co-captains, the Polar Bears line-up will include seniors Josephine Gantz and Maya Hairston, juniors Alexa Decidue, Teagan Krane and Alexis Shatzman and freshmen Presley Daggett and Grace Lavin.
“The seniors have been extremely important in helping me to feel acclimated in my environment,” Smith said. “They always make sure everyone feels part of the team and has the support that they need. They always have the whole team’s interests in mind. Coach Sacks has made me feel very welcome since I joined the tennis team as a freshman and provided me with good advice and guidance about playing for Baldwin.”