Episcopal Academy girls’ tennis nets well deserved Inter-Ac title

Embrace the Fight. Embrace the Battle.

This mantra is what Episcopal Academy coach Whit Powell continually conveyed to his team throughout the fall with the goal that it would sink in and allow the girls to focus on playing without worrying about the result.

“This mantra is about the element of competition,” said Powell, following the Inter-Ac tournament that rewards individual achievement with a team aspect. “If you embrace the battle and embrace the fight the outcome will take care of itself.”

“We had many seniors on this team who pushed us to work hard and fight for every ball,” said junior Nina Stavropolous, who played No. 2 doubles with senior co-captain Haley Potter. “We are going to miss our seniors because they were great leaders who showed us the way for us to be successful.”

With a challenging schedule laid out in front of them, the Churchwomen came together as a unit and battled their way to a well-deserved Inter-Ac title going undefeated in a challenging league top to bottom. The title was the 13th EA has won outright or shared in the past 15 years.

Powell said, “These girls enjoyed the challenge of the fight every match. They never gave up. There were situations they were down 5-0 in a set and came back to win 7-5. They kept saying next point, next game and really embraced the philosophy. When the team embraces the motto you really start to believe.”

“This title is so special,” said senior Nadiyah Browning, who played No. 1 singles. “All of the girls stepped up and worked so hard. It was amazing to watch this season. I am so proud of all of them.”

With a sport that has a tendency to promote selfish behavior due to the circumstances of being out on the court alone without having the advantage of talking with your coach, forming a team atmosphere can be difficult.

Fortunately for Powell and many other coaches in the area, this is one area the coaches tend to spend the least time on allowing them to turn their attention to what happens between the lines.

“Tennis by nature can be lonely,” said Powell. “However I believe in building a team culture and having a group that cares about the common good shows the team maturity which I expect from the seniors but it also shows the selflessness, which is why they who they are and why they are successful.”


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