Mar. 27—BATESVILLE — Five seniors on Batesville's tennis team are hoping to make the most of their final season.
"Obviously, our senior year hasn't been the same because of COVID," Betsy Harmeyer said. "We haven't been able to go to other sporting events, so I feel like we're all just trying to make the best of it and enjoy the ending of our senior year."
The senior class consists of Harmeyer, Caroline Kellerman, Chloe Saler, Malia Scheele and Kayla Stone.
"I'm really hoping we prevail and have a really good season," Kellerman said. "But most of all, we just love being with the team before senior year ends."
Gabrielle Elston and Olivia Raab are the only juniors, meaning the majority of the Bulldogs' 19 players are sophomores and freshmen.
Sophomores are Ella Dieterlen, Megan Raab, Summer Ratcliffe, Laney Walsman, Cayman Werner and Isabelle Westerfeld.
Freshmen are Jada Day, Katelyn Martin, Cara VanSickle, Madison Wanstrath, Ella Wolters and Isabelle Wonnell.
Emily Helvie, who took over as head coach in 2019, said it's been strange returning to the courts.
"Having a year off has made a huge difference," Helvie said. "So we're really just working on getting back in the swing of things. Definitely working on the consistency piece. I'm lucky to have those five (senior) girls who have put in a lot of time and have done things over the summer and over the winter to keep up with things. So I know they're going to play a key part."
Harmeyer has been playing tennis since she was 4. She played doubles her freshman and sophomore years, but expects she'll play singles this season.
"I'm hoping to obviously win as many matches as I can," Harmeyer said. "It's gonna be tough because I don't know which spot I'm going to play yet, but we're going to try to win as many matches also as a team. Our hope, always, is to get far in sectionals, because we have a lot of tough opponents when we're playing in sectionals. We're hoping to do better this year because I think we're gonna have a pretty good team."
Batesville plays in Sectional 16 with East Central, Lawrenceburg, Milan, South Dearborn and rival Oldenburg Academy.
"It's always tough, but I really want to play OA," Scheele said.
Helvie told the players during their first practice following spring break that her biggest expectations are for them to work hard and to have good attitudes.
"That's always going to be the No. 1 goal," she said, "and hopefully that leads to winning. But winning isn't always everything. We definitely want to see some good matches being played and hopefully have a good winning season. There are never any guarantees in the spring with weather and so many things going on. But I expect us to have some very nice wins."
Batesville went 7-9 in the 2019 season.
The players are excited about returning to play matches.
"I definitely missed it a lot last year," Scheele said.
They've been working on various aspects of their games, including trying to strengthen their serves and backhands.
Saler has been playing tennis for two years, so this will be her first time playing matches for the Bulldogs.
"I'm just trying to do my best," she said.
The Bulldogs are slated to open the season April 8 at Connersville. Their first home match will be April 13 against East Central.
"They're a good group of girls," Helvie said. "I couldn't ask for a better group. Very relaxed, but hard working. So I'm excited. It will be good."
Andy Scheidler may be contacted at 812-663-3111 ext. 217401 or email@example.com.