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Draper Journal

JDCHS girls tennis on court with new coach

Aug 28, 2018 03:38PM ● By Jana Klopsch

The Juan Diego Catholic High School tennis team will have several new players this season along with first-year coaches Marisa Smith and Ellyn Bennett. (Photo courtesy Marisa Smith)

By Catherine Garrett | [email protected]

Eighteen of the 25 Juan Diego Catholic High School girls tennis players this season are seniors, and first-year coach Marisa Smith welcomes the leadership they will provide as the squad replaces three All-Region players and others with state tournament experience to rebuild the program. 

“I think it’s important to have a good mix of skill levels and maturity to keep cultivating tennis players,” Smith said. “It works nicely and we have some time to help the younger players build their technical skills.” 

Senior Kyllie Furukawa, who teamed with sophomore Ana Rico last season at No. 2 doubles, in making it to the first round of the 4A state tournament, along with seniors Alex Jones and Paige Cameron, are expected to help lead the team on and off the court this year. 

“I’m excited to have them back,” Smith said. 

“We have to fill the gaps for replacing our top five varsity players from last year, but everyone is working really hard and we have a lot of really good players,” Furukawa said. 

Ana Rico will lead the team at No. 1 singles in the lineup. Promising newcomers — freshmen Valeria Rico, who will play No. 2 singles, and Grace Poyner, at No. 3 singles — will also contribute to fill in the lineup spots for the team that will balance athleticism and players who are brand new to the sport. 

Furukawa/Jones will team up at No. 1 doubles with Amy Frascone/Devyn Patterson (No. 2 doubles), and Natalie Morgan/Avery Buys (No. 3 doubles) round out the varsity lineup. 

“We’ve had some athletes come over from other sports, so we have a lot of talent to work with,” Smith said. 

Smith and Assistant Coach Ellyn Bennett have been encouraging their players to continue practicing technical skills and footwork while preaching good sportsmanship and good attitudes. 

Throughout the season Smith expects lineup changes as she employs a challenge system to continually allow her players to compete for spots. 

Currently, the JV lineup is Grace Anglesey (No. 1 singles), Erin Garzella (No. 2 singles), Isabelle Gately (No. 3 singles), Cameron/Taylor Schilly (No. 1 doubles), Sara Ashby/Daniella Ulloa (No. 2 doubles) and Kate Harvey/Morgan Dawson (No.3 doubles). 

Also on the 2018 team are Caroline Arceneaux, Sophia Berrocal, Julia Hettinger, Madelin Jokik-McLeod, Katie O’Brien, Alyssa Sepulveda and Chance Srey.

“I feel like our team has really good potential with our players getting better fast,” Furukawa said. “All of those summer practices will hopefully pay off.” 

This season, Juan Diego competed against Granger Aug. 15 and will also face Waterford, Stansbury, Skyridge, Park City, Tooele, Ben Lomond, Ogden and Bonneville before the region tournament Sept. 20–21. The 4A state tournament is scheduled for Sept. 27 and 29 at Liberty Park. 

“It should be a good year,” Smith said. “We’re excited to get going.”