Like many of the Broomfield girls tennis team’s top doubles players, Shivaun Wood is faced with a fork in the road entering this season.
One path is familiar to Wood and the other players, since it is the one they have been traveling the past few seasons — doubles play. The other one heads off in a completely different direction, the unknowns of the lower singles lines.
Wood is fighting some nerves about her prospects of her preseason challenge matches bumping her up to No. 2 or 3 singles. But she is more than understanding about the Eagles’ need to fill the holes graduation left.
“It’s going to be a big change, since we have so many spots to fill,” Wood said. “If I need to be a singles player, I’ll take one for the team.”
Broomfield’s top double players’ reservations about making a move to solo tennis is understandable, given both partnerships were among the team’s top-performing lines a year ago.
Wood and Monro Obenauer won the No. 1 doubles regional title in 2012 behind three consecutive straight-sets victories. And Marisa Eafanti and Michelle Midanier had their team’s best state performance, finishing fourth at the Class 4A tournament at No. 2 doubles.
“I would like to stay at doubles, because I’m more comfortable there,” Eafanti said. “And I would like to have another successful year like last year.”
No matter who makes the jump to singles, Justin Dilts understands that the players will face a steep learning curve. The Broomfield coach has been highly impressed with each of the girls’ doubles play, but believes each will need to round their games out to succeed in singles tennis.
Dilts pegs two major skill sets key to winning singles tennis: The ability to play a strong game at the baseline and court coverage.
“None of the four have both yet,” he said. “The first ones who pick them up will succeed.”
Broomfield has some experience returning to its singles line with Dayna DeMeritte slated to play the No. 1 position again. The junior cut her teeth on the most competitive line of singles tennis last season, but failed to clinch a state tournament berth.
Dilts is more than confident DeMeritte has the technical ability to push her year into the postseason this spring. But the coach believes it will require the ace to develop in other areas.
“Dayna has the skills to put the ball away, she just needs to believe it,” Dilts said. “She needs to play more aggressive this season.”
The Eagles have plenty of puzzle pieces to fit together this spring and, as luck would have it, precious little time.
“The weather being as it has been and our opening matches this year, we do not have the luxury of easing into the season,” Dilts said. “It’s going to be a trial by fire.”
Follow Elwood on Twitter @ElwoodKShelton.