It might have been a little different from years past, but for the Our Lady of Mercy Academy girls tennis team, Monday's CHSAA opener against Holy Trinity was worth the wait.
Led by junior Skyler Brown at first singles the Mustangs captured a 7-0 victory at Nassau Country Club.
"It's nice to actually play another team," Brown said. "It's a little weird, but at least we can play."
Brown came out firing from the opening point, crediting her serve for finding an early-match rhythm as she defeated Alice Vyskocil in straight sets, 6-0, 6-1.
"I think my serve worked really well today," Brown said. "I had some nice backhand volley winners and some nice forehand winners. It kind of builds my self-confidence. Even if I hit it out, I know it was a good try and a good attempt. I keep going at it."
"Skyler’s a good player," OLMA coach Tim Mangan said. "She’s improved her game really well this year."
Emma Sheridan and Lauren Solosky also won in straight sets at second and third singles, while juniors Nina Gatti and Iels Aan Jibu clinched their first-ever victory as a tandem at first doubles. The two defeated Jada Ross and Nicole McCormick, 6-1, 6-0.
"Practicing together was something new," Gatti said of the pair's prematch preparation. "We had to figure out how to work together and make sure that we called our shot."
Jibu added that "communication was really important," and while the match wasn’t totally normal, it was good to square off against a different uniform.
"Over the summer, I thought that we weren't going to have a season at all," Gatti said. "So when they told us we were going to be playing other schools, that was something that was really exciting."
Adrianna Cirenza and Isabella Messina added a bit of excitement at second doubles, but held on to win, 6-3, 5-7, 10-3, over Janiya Clark and Samantha McCormick.
Now that the season is underway, OLMA won’t have much chance to slow down. The Mustangs take on Sacred Heart on Tuesday afternoon, looking to build on their collective confidence with back-to-back victories.
"There’s a lot of enthusiasm," Mangan said. "They're getting there. To fight through all this, is tough...but they're doing well."