POULSBO — After finishing first in conference, it’s clear to see that the North Kitsap girls tennis team is filled with skilled competitors. More important than that, however, the team is filled with friends who like having fun with each other.
“You definitely make friends out here,” said Amanda Turley, a senior on the team. “That’s what I’m going to miss most when I go off to school, my team and the experiences and adventures we had together.”
Turley plays singles for the Vikings and likes being the only person on the court.
“I’m an independent person,” Turley said. “When I do play doubles, it’s weird having to call the ball and someone else being out there. I like singles.”
Megan Cragg and Sarah Holt, however, feel differently. They like having someone out there for support.
“It helps that we’re best friends off the court,” said Cragg, a junior on the team.
Holt added, “Being so close, we have great chemistry and can communicate better. We can tell each other how it is and know what the other needs to hear.”
This closeness helped when the pair had to battle back after losing their first set in the tournament to go on to win in extra sets.
“They were a talented team and we knew it was important for us to win,” Holt said. “After losing that first set, we kept saying, how do we imagine this ending? We didn’t want to get knocked out in the first round.”
Cragg and Holt also played volleyball for the Vikings. Holt, a senior, was named league MVP for volleyball after the Vikings finished second in state.
Cragg has played tennis since she was a freshman; this is Holt’s first year.
“Sarah is a tremendous athlete and has picked up tennis so fast,” Coach Steven Frease said. “I wish she had come out as a freshman. With her improvement just this year, she probably could have beat our No. 1 singles.”
Current No. 1 singles player, freshman Danya Wallis, finished first in the conference tournament on May 14. After getting off to a rocky start, letting her nerves get to her, she came back to win her first set 6-4 before winning 6-0 in her second, clinching the top spot.
“This team is very competitive and we are obviously the best in the league,” Wallis said. “But it’s only going to get harder here on out so I’ve been preparing and training harder to get to state.”
Luckily for the Vikings, their teammates and coaches push each other every day.
“We play each other in practice and that’s some of our best competition,” Cragg said. “We’re all so close in talent that your spot can differ each game.”
Jordan Prince is in his second year as head coach. He and Frease are described as a perfect combination by the girls they coach.
“Frease is incredible because he is so wise and knows how to pick you up when you’re down and has played his whole life,” Turley said.
“I’ve known Jordan for a long time … That was helpful because when I started this year, he knew my strengths and how to help with my weaknesses.”