Sept. 2, 2015
Usually when the members of the Georgia Tech Women’s Tennis Team take the court they are singularly focused and all business.
Such was not the case last Friday and was something they found quite refreshing.
The team had an intra-squad exhibition at Atlanta’s Cherokee Town and Country Club and took full advantage of getting to play fun, pressure-free tennis.
“It gave us a chance to get involved with people in the community because Cherokee is not far from Georgia Tech,” said head coach Rodney Harmon. “Since we have a number of alums that are there and a couple of the alums who have been involved with our tennis program, for example, Ken Byers, for whom our tennis center is named, his son belongs to Cherokee and he plays there as well.
“It was a nice event for the girls and me to get out, and spend some time together, laugh, meet nice people, play a little tennis, get out and play some fun doubles against each other then have a great meal,” Harmon continued. “It was in an environment that’s different. We normally are in the Tennis Center or on campus. This was off-campus. The Cherokee Town and Country Club staff did a great job and it was fun. We had a really nice time.”
The event also served as an opportunity for the team members to spend time bonding with each other and catching up after a long summer apart.
“The mixer at Cherokee was such an honor for us to meet the members there,” said senior Megan Kurey. “They were so welcoming and it made the great day of bonding special to be able to share it with all of them.”
By getting to watch the Jackets, the Cherokee members got a small taste of what the Jackets do during their season, which ideally will whet their appetite to come out and support the team.
“It’s a lot easier for people to say, ‘Hey, maybe I’ll go over and watch Georgia Tech play Florida State, or I’ll watch them play Notre Dame, or whomever,’ when they feel like, ‘I met Johnnise [Renaud] at our club and she was so nice. I’d like to go watch her play,’” Harmon said. “We also would love to have more people come out and watch us and get some support. I think it served a lot of different purposes. It was very positive for our girls, very low-key, very peaceful. I thought it was good.”
The Jackets, coming off a tremendous spring season (17-10, 9-5 in ACC play), which saw them reach the finals of the ACC Championship then advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, begin practice for the fall season on Sept. 8. The day at the Cherokee was a small but nice way to conclude the summer, and get everyone back together again, in a relaxed informal setting.
“I think the biggest thing is more looking at the upcoming season,” said Harmon. “Just trying to see where everyone is and making sure everybody is on the same page and they’re going to be prepared to work hard this year and put forth the best effort they can.
“I think the biggest thing is that we had three freshmen last year (Renaud, Paige Hourigan, Alexis Prokopuik). So they know the ropes, they know the expectations,” he added. “Then we have three seniors (Kurey, Kendal Woodard and Natasha Prohknevska) and this is their last run. So we have everyone experienced and everyone understands the level of play that we have to play at to be able to compete against the best teams in the country and we play a number of them. We want to be a factor in the ACC race and we, obviously, want to have a really good season.”