High school girls tennis team reaches playoffs
Wareham High School girls tennis coach Geoff Swett never expected his team to make the playoffs this year.
In April, Swett said he didn’t think that the team would make the finals like it did last season, because so many of its star players have already graduated.
Instead, he planned to make the team’s new players into a dynasty over the next several years.
It looks like that dynasty just might be starting to unfold.
On Sunday, June 4, the Vikings girls tennis team entered the Round of 16 after beating Manchester Essex Regional Middle High School 3-2, bringing the team’s overall record to 15-6.
“We’re not as deep as we were last year,” Swett said at tennis practice on Monday, June 5. “We’re just as smart as we were, but we’re not as deep in talent.”
Manchester Essex is the second-highest ranked girls tennis team in the state, per the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s power rankings. That fact didn’t intimidate team Co-Captain Brooklyn Bindas.
“Ranking, it’s just a number,” said Bindas, a junior.
It used to be that all a team needed to get in the playoffs was a .500 record. Nowadays, teams don’t need that record. Instead, they can get in the playoffs by being among the 32 highest-ranked teams in their division, based on a ranking system that tabulates points. Wareham was ranked 18 in Division 4.
Swett calls it “a relatively complicated system.”
“If you beat an easy team,” he said, “it doesn’t help you at all. If you beat a hard team, it helps you a lot. If you lose to a really hard team, you still get a few points.”
So far, Swett is cautiously optimistic for two reasons. First, Bindas has fully recovered from a hip injury she suffered in January. Second, Co–Captain Fredi Gakidis has substantially improved her game by taking Bindas’s place and facing some of the toughest tennis players in the state.
“Whether I won or lost,” said Gakidis, a graduating senior, “it was more of a learning experience where I got to play higher-[ranked] players.”
Meanwhile, Bindas said she has learned to be more patient when taking her shots.
“It’s called wisdom,” Swett said.
Both Bindas and Gakidis reacted humbly to Swett’s praise.
“It feels good, but it wasn’t just us,” Bindas said. “We are the captains, but we’re not the sole points of the team.”
“It’s really a team effort,” Gakidis said.
Can Wareham make the finals again?
“There’s a chance,” Gakidis said. “Stay optimistic.”