ATASCADERO — As the new school year starts so does the beginning of fall sports. With the construction still going on at Atascadero High School as they renovate and modernize the campus, the girls tennis team will continue to operate from Heilmann Park on the south side of Atascadero located right before Chalk Mountain Golf Course, which is where they hosted the Templeton Eagles for each team's first scrimmage of the year.
“The scrimmage is all about getting the girls an opportunity to try out all the things that we have been working on in practice and give them the ability to shake out some of those cobwebs and nerves a little bit,” Templeton head coach Mary K. Housinger said. “And there is no better team to do that against than Atascadero because they have such nice girls.”
It was a warm day in Atascadero and you could tell as every fan in attendance sat a few feet back from the line of shade from the oak trees that encase the courts.
The Greyhounds and Eagles have two very different teams this year as the Hounds enter 2019 as a young team anchored by star senior Anneline Breytenbach while the Eagles return five senior starters.
“Well we still have a very young team,” Atascadero head coach Lori Bickle said during the match on Tuesday. “ We only have two seniors so we still have a young team but as far as expectations go the sky's the limit because it depends on how hard these girls want to work.”
The reason that the sky's the limit for this Hounds team that is still so young is because of the number of returners they have and also the number of girls on the team that has been working on their game year-round.
“I think 10 out of the 12 of our girls continued to work on their tennis game year-round so they are on fire and ready to go,” Bickle added.
The Hounds tennis team has been led by a Breytenbach for the past few years and it seems it will continue as Anneline’s younger sister Noella now joins the team as a freshman and like her sisters is very talented with a racquet in her hand. Altogether it appears the Hounds have six girls returning on their varsity squad from a year ago and with the experience Bickle points out that they have begun learning more about the game and less how to play. Bickle said she is now often talking with the girls about the psychology of the game and the geometry of the court and strategy rather than fundamentals which could result in a bump in scores.
The Templeton Eagles enter this season with the ability to put out almost the exact same lineup as last year but with another year of training under their belts. Jackie Krupa, Bella Backer (junior), Sammie Vaicius, Natalie Kissee, and Sage Gleason played a majority of the Eagles matches last year and hope to move the Eagles toward the top of the Ocean league this fall.
Not unlike most programs, the Eagles run a summer program for their athletes and according to coach Housinger Templeton had great attendance and are excited to start playing against girls in a different color than green.
“Every one of them came out all summer long so they are hungry,” she said during Tuesday’s match. “They want it, and are excited to have a good senior year and I am looking forward to it too.”
The Greyhounds will host El Diamante on Sept. 3 from Heilman Park for their first official home match while the Eagles host Paso Robles on Aug. 27.