APPLETON — State bound Xavier doubles tennis team members Megan DuBois and Alyssa Carew celebrate the different talents each brings to the court. DuBois, a senior, is a left-handed player who effectively uses spin on her shots and plays angles. Carew, a junior, is a right-handed power player with a big serve.
“I think we complement each other really well because I do a little bit more setting (Carew) up and she is better at putting (shots) away,” said DuBois.
“We are nowhere alike on the tennis court, but that’s what makes it work,” said Carew.
On Oct. 16, the duo, 19-5 on the season, will return to play in the WIAA Division 2 Tennis State Championships at Nielsen Stadium in Madison. Last year, DuBois and Carew advanced to the second round at state before falling to the eventual Division 2 champions, Taylor Benard and Julia Veitinger of University School of Milwaukee.
“Last year, we were just so excited to make it to state. That was our goal,” said DuBois.
“We wanted to play our best and have fun with it. This year, we know what’s going on and hopefully we can get farther than last year.”
“We are going into this year more confident,” said Carew. “We are going to play as hard as we can. I’m really excited.”
Not only do their games differ, but so do their demeanors on the court.
“I get down very easily during a match and Megan knows how to boost me up by making me look at her and take a deep breath,” said Carew. “It helps me get back into the game and take it point by point.”
“We have different personalities,” said DuBois. “I’m more of a talker. I can talk through the emotions.”
“If I need to pump myself back up, I jump around and keep my feet moving,” said Carew. “If I really get into it, I say things out loud like ‘Let’s go!’”
Last year’s conference meet stands out as a moment that DuBois and Carew picked each other up. They lost the first set of the championship match 0-6, but came back to win the next two sets for the title.
“We used to be the type of team that would get down on ourselves,” said DuBois. “I will always remember that match. To go from not winning a game in the first set and to come back to win was huge.”
The state championships will mark the close of a three-year run for DuBois and Carew as doubles partners. They played No. 2 doubles in 2012 and No. 1 doubles the past two seasons for the Hawks. They didn’t know each other very well when first paired together and have since developed a close friendship.
“No one is going to one up Megan,” said Carew in reference to having a new partner next season.
Last month, DuBois and Carew repeated as conference champions in No. 1 doubles. Xavier won its second consecutive team conference title by winning three singles and three doubles championships. No. 1 singles player and individual conference champion Marissa Walsh, a junior, will also play at the State Championships in Madison after being named a special qualifier. Other individual/doubles conference champions for the Hawks included Rachel Wierzbinski at No. 3 singles, Jennifer Niemeyer at No. 4 singles, Becky Kramer and Carly Wesner at No. 2 doubles and Ann Richey and Anne Geenen at No. 3 doubles. Senior Katherine Pranica took second at No. 2 singles.
“It was a great team effort,” said DuBois, who also plays softball at Xavier and is a drum major in the band. “You compete as a doubles player or a singles player, but we are also really close as a team. All the hard work we put in at practice really paid off.”
The team holds hands and prays before each match. They also scream a cheer very loud and fast so that no outsiders can understand it.
“It’s sort of an inside joke,” said Carew, who added that she set one goal for the season.
“This is Megan’s senior year, so my goal was to get to state for her,” she said.
“Tennis has been by far one of the best experiences of my high school career,” said DuBois. “It’s a sport I started playing when I was really young. The tennis season starts before the school year, so I remember getting to know the upperclassmen my first year at Xavier and I’ve made new friends each year. I know I will always play tennis.”
Junior Tallie Piaskowski of Roncalli High School, Manitowoc, is the top seed in singles for the WIAA Division 2 Tennis State Championships. Piaskowski, who finished third at state in 2013, is undefeated with a 24-0 record this season. Senior Chloe Kitzerow of Roncalli is making a return trip to state in singles. Kitzerow, also 24-0, is seeded eighth.
Junior Caroline Schaupp and sophomore Claire Rotherham will represent Notre Dame Academy, Green Bay, in Division 1 doubles at state. Senior Megan Krzewinski of Notre Dame will play Division 1 singles in Madison.