Mt. Mercy Primed for ‘Magical’ Season
Updated: Aug 20, 2019
By Tatyjana Scalisi, Sports Union
Photos by Geoff Schneider, Sports Union As the spring season begins to bloom, sports teams from all the different private schools are embarking on their adventure toward a highly competitive season with the hopes of achieving a Monsignor Martin division title. One team displaying an ambitious drive that anticipates on winning such a high accolade is the Mount Mercy Academy tennis team. With a fresh variety of some talented newcomers and several returning, experienced players, the team consists of seven juniors, a freshman, sophomore, and a senior who are under the strong leadership of a new head coach, Matthew Ondesko. However, before the Magic can begin, they must strengthen their fundamental skills, boost their confidence, as well as compete against some of the top teams in the area such as Sacred Heart, St. Mary’s and their rival Nardin whom they open their season with back-to-back matches.
“The ladies need to focus on the fundamentals,” says Ondesko. “We have also worked on little drills to help them with their forehand, backhands and volleying at the net. The biggest thing with the group is confidence. They just need the confidence to know they are good - and that they can compete with anyone in the league - and that will come with time.” Despite being an inexperienced team, the players share a unique bond with one another that allows them to mesh together and perform like an experienced team. Co-captains Breanna Sikora and Lily Kasperek have taken on the leadership role of making sure that the newcomers of the team have been provided unconditional support and guidance whether it’s at practices or matches.
“As a team we have a very unique bond,” says senior captain Breanna Sikora, who has been playing on the Mount Mercy tennis team since her freshman year. “We all know how to work well, and play off each other.” When asked about motivating their teammates, the captains responded about being supportive of one another, teaching the inexperienced players how to learn from their mistakes, and that they keep a fun-filled environment in order to prevent new players from becoming overwhelmed.
“We have a lot of fun and share a lot of jokes, which brings us closer together,” says junior captain Lily Kasperek. “We don’t get mad at each other when we make mistakes – we just encourage each other to do better.” The captains outlook for this year express a more successful season because their new coach pushes them harder, and they feel that they have much more talented players. Their coach not only motivates the girls, but also incorporates new drills, as well as establishes little goals each day at practices for the girls the accomplish in order to prepare for the All-Catholic tournament at the end of the season. “When I came in, I tore everything down and started from scratch,” stated Ondesko. “We set little goals each practice and try and accomplish them and move onto the next. I know it has been frustrating for them at times, but they have come along way - and I am proud from where they started to where they are today. It is a great group of girls who work hard and want to get better - and that’s all you can ask as a coach.” With a determined, new coach integrating new drills, two positive and reliable captains guiding the team, as well as many new talented incomers on the Mount Mercy tennis team that are making an impact, one can truly believe that the Magic for this team is spiraling upward for a successful outcome.