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Norwood - Local Town Pages

Norwood Girls Tennis; A New Beginning

Senior Caroline Bussier

By Christopher Tremblay
Myra Durham was working in the health care field but was looking for something else. Last year, her daughter was playing tennis in Canton, and she was helping out. Having been a four-year tennis player in high school, and another four years in college in addition to a bunch of other leagues that she took part in over the years, she really enjoyed the sport.
“I really enjoyed helping to coach the girls on the tennis court,” Durham said. “I was ready to give up on my job in the health care industry and was looking to find something else. That’s when I decided to look for coaching jobs.”
Having been around tennis forever, Durham finally landed a coaching position with the Norwood girls tennis team. This spring, the Mustangs had an abundance of girls (20 plus) join the tennis team and Durham has been doing her best to get each of them some time on the courts in some aspect.

Freshman Riley Barnett,


A lot of the girls who have decided to pick up a tennis racket are doing so for the first time and don’t have that much knowledge of the game, so the first-year coach is teaching them from scratch. Being new to the sport leaves plenty of room to grow and that bodes well for the program if they all continue to work during the off-season and return next year.
“Tennis is a difficult sport, especially during the winter months unless you have access to indoor courts,” Durham said. “You may not be able to work on specific tennis skills if you can’t get on a court, but you can work on conditioning and coming into the season in shape and ready to go.”
Unfortunately, Norwood opened the season with three very strong teams in Medfield, Hopkinton, and Westwood. While the Mustangs may have been unlucky in drawing three seasoned teams to begin the year, it did give the new coach a glimpse of what the girls could do and what they needed to work on to improve.
One glaring weakness that the Mustangs will be facing is the fact that five out of the seven girls in the starting lineup are seniors and will be gone next year, so come next spring the Norwood squad will look totally different.

Sophomore Zoe Faller,


The only senior playing singles will be number one player Sathvika Kommera. She is a very reliable and consistent player on the court, but unfortunately has the task of playing the toughest competition. She has only been able to pick up a few wins this year, but she has been able to keep all her matches close.
Following Kommera in second and third singles are the teams only starting underclassmen. Freshman Riley Barnett is playing second singles, while sophomore Zoe Faller is in the third singles position. The two have both faced their struggles on the court this spring but are staying positive as they look to the future. According to the coach, Barnett brings a high energy to her game, is very good at analyzing her play and can problem solve as she goes along. Faller has a very good understanding of how to strategize and change up her game as needed. Both athletes have the potential to get better as they get older.
Norwood’s double teams are made up of all seniors, two having played together and two that have not until this year. Playing together once again this year at first doubles will be Mary Kate Gunning and Caroline Bussier. The duo seem to be very comfortable and strong while on the court together. They work well as a team and knows exactly how the other plays. 
On the other hand, Livia Zaldivar and Ayushma KC are playing together for the first year at second doubles. Durham has seen an improvement in the second team and as the season has moved along they are figuring each other out and have started to play well. According to the coach, Zaldivar has been consistent all around, while her partner KC has shown a strong net presence.
Prior to the season beginning, Durham had met with the girls to talk about the upcoming season.
“When we talked before the season got underway, they all said that their number one goal this year was to build a strong team,” Durham said. “Following that, we would like to improve upon last year’s three-win season. They are all learning to play the game and are working hard while keeping a positive attitude. I see a lot of potential in them all.”