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The East Haven girls' tennis team completed its first season under new Head Coach Dave Oshana and finished the 2014 spring season with a 1-17 record, missing out on both the SCC and state tournaments. However, Oshana was happy with the progress his squad made throughout the year and pleased with everybody's attitude and effort.
"My goal was to see improvement in my players through the season and I certainly did," Oshana said. "I was able to see growth in all my athletes this season. As I am starting a new program at East Haven, I took six players who had never played before the season began. By the end of the season all six players had played a varsity match for East Haven."
The Yellowjackets were led by their three senior captains Pam Masella, Jurgena Hysolli, and Brianna Dessureau. Hysolli typically lined up at No. 1 singles while Masella and Dessureau generally paired as East Haven's No. 1 doubles squad. The trio did move around throughout the year, however, to help get younger players involved in more matches.
"The three senior captains-I want to thank them for the help this season," Oshana said.
Masella was the lone senior to walk away with an award as Oshana felt she earned the Coaches Award. Other awards went to Tori Carlson, who took the Sportsmanship Award, and Natalia Wisniewski, who was the Most Consistent. Wisniewski always played her matches tough, according to Oshana, battling her opponents to the very end. Her efforts resulted in her five solo victories.
Improvement was the biggest aspect of the Yellowjackets' season, and the two matches against rival Branford showed just how much the squad improved as a whole throughout the year.
"We played Branford the first game of the season and lost 7-0," he said. "We improved against Branford to lose 5-2 the second time we played them. Though we lost again, it was nice to see growth against a solid team. I was also very happy with my team when they beat West Haven."
With that, Oshana thought the squad's toughness as a group improved to not only help them learn more about the game, but play better against the opposition.
"My biggest accomplishment this season was being able to see growth in my athletes," Oshana aid. "Tennis is a sport where mental toughness is a key part of the game. I am proud of how my team grew both mentally and physically throughout the season."
With a lot of players returning for next season, Oshana can't wait to get the spring of 2015 underway.
"I am looking forward to next season. Next season we will be in a schedule where we will be more competitive. My goal would be to have several of the athletes make the state tournament and for us to win more matches," says Oshana. "However, I need to be realistic since I have a young team with many new players. I believe the key to our success will be more playing in the offseason and practice, practice, practice."