The 2009 DHS girlsâ€™ tennis team will have a new leader at the helm, as DHS teacher Jutta Rossano takes over the reigns for retired teacher and coach Glenn Pina.
Rossano, a vocabulary and sign language teacher at DHS, was the full-time assistant coach last year after being around the team off and on for the past three seasons, so she isnâ€™t coming into the program as a rookie.
While her tennis experience has been mainly teaching youth, her real athletic strength has been as a karate teacher, and she hopes to use those teaching skills in developing a team that she feels will be competitive on a regular basis for years to come.
While Rossano calls this yearâ€™s squad a team in transition, she does have several players with varsity experience that she feels can get the Lady Dragons back into tournament play.
Sophomore Michaela Dowd will move up to #1 singles this year after playing #3 last season.
â€œSheâ€™s a slugger,â€ said Rossano. â€œShe really hits the ball hard and knows the court well and where she can put her power shots.â€
While Dowd can once again make Duxbury competitive at #1 singles, Rossano thinks that senior captain Lizza Thomas at #2 singles and senior Annie Gluskin at #3 singles make the trio a formidable group.
â€œThomas comes in with a very competitive edge and really wants to win, while Gluskin should be able to be a consistent winner at #3 with a powerful shot that seems to get her off the ground with its intensity.â€
With three solid players at singles, Rossano is hoping that her #1 doubles tandem can take some of the heat off her top three and help wrap the matches up early.
Senior captain Jane Morgan and junior Corey Tucker seem to have all the ingredients needed for a strong year.
â€œJane has a good sense of team play and communicates well on the court,â€ said her coach. â€œCorey tends to be very aggressive at the net. I think they compliment each other well and both come on the court with a very positive attitude.â€
The top five players on the team were easy selections for the new coach, but now the evaluation progress begins for Rossano at #2 doubles where seven players will vie for the slots.
â€œDonâ€™t be surprised if you see me rotating all of them in the early going,â€ said the first-year head coach. â€œThey all have about the same skill level, so this process should be very challenging for all of them.â€
One thing Duxbury has going for it is that all the combatants are underclassmen, so the competition could be beneficial in the long run.
Juniors Erin Nelson and Julia Allen possess the most experience in the group and could have a leg up in the early going.