Collingswood High School girls' tennis coach Miles Holland is spending an awful lot of time in bagel shops these days.
Holland isn’t doing it because he has an uncontrollable hankering for a hot dozen—truth be told, the trips are starting to put a little hole in his wallet—but he hopes the trend continues for another month.
Prior to the start of the season, the coach told his players that every time they won a match 5-0, he would reward them with bagels the following day. The strategy is paying dividends in the standings, as the Panthers improved to 9-2 with a 5-0 win against Overbrook, Wednesday. Eight of the nine victories have been by a score of 5-0.
Holland called the start "phenomenal."
“I’m seriously losing money,” he said.
No one has enjoyed more success than No. 1 singles player Sophy Siv, who improved to 10-1 in Thursday's match. Loaded with a strong serve, steady backhand and high level of fitness, Siv has been making quick work of her opponents.
“I think I have been playing pretty well,” said Siv. “These last couple of matches, I have been playing my game, which has been really good for me.
"I have to give credit to my coach because he has been putting a lot of effort into the practices, making sure we make each one count,” she said.
Siv has hardly been alone in the winning effort. No. 2 singles player Jen Cotton only has one conference loss and No. 3 singles player Cat Maienza only has a couple. The doubles teams of Christine Abacan/Daria Parkinson and Samantha Smith/Maleeya Thompson have also been rolling along.
Each has deserved her share of the breakfast treats.
“They have been playing great and we have such a great culture here,” Holland said. “There are so many people that just love the game of tennis and come out and support the game and support the girls. The girls feel it and they just want to get better and they have.”
The upbeat vibe around the team has continued to grow with each victory.
“Everyone on the teams loves the game of tennis and so do I, so it just makes it fun,” Siv said.
Code Navy day
The Panthers are hoping to see a major turnout from students and their families Friday when they host West Deptford during their team’s Code Navy Day.
The Code Navy program was started this year in an effort to get students out to show their support for all seven teams in the fall season. The idea is to spotlight each team once a year.
The Panthers will also be raising money for the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation at today's match. Players and volunteers will be selling food and drinks and taking any donations.
“We are trying to get as many people out from all of the other sports to come out and support us,” Holland said. “Hopefully we get a nice turnout and raise some money as well.”
The idea was brought up by Natalie Madison, who plays on the JV squad.
“She brought the idea to me because she actually suffers from diabetes, so it’s a cause that is very close to her heart,” Holland said. “She did quite a bit of the organizing and has been getting change drops in the lunchrooms.”
Considering the way the team has been playing over the last few weeks it shouldn’t be too hard to convince other Panthers’ to come show their support.
“I’m just hoping to see people come and experience the game of tennis,” Siv said. “I just hope we can raise some money and everyone has fun.”
The Panthers will be raising money for the Junior Diabetes Foundation during their Friday match against West Deptford. The contest starts at 3:45 p.m. at the Collingswood High School. Come out and support the girls—and a good cause.