If you don’t see the girls tennis team on the courts at the west campus, try finding the defending state champions at .
The Scouts are not having a party. That is the location of some of most rigorous workouts.
“We do a lot of conditioning,” singles standout said. “It really helps make us stronger.”
Murphy puts her charges through their paces running the hills and stairs at the , as well as the bleachers at Varsity Field.
“If you’re in a third set tie-breaker and your opponent is getting spent, those beach runs come in handy,” doubles star said. “When we do the beach runs, we sprint uphill.”
Seeing is Believing
Morris knows exactly what her teammate means. Early in the season, she had lost the first set of a match at the Deerfield Invitational, was trailing 3-5 in the second and her opponent was serving with three match points.
“She got tired,” Morris said of her opponent as she fought off the three match points, won the second set and took the third, 7-5, for the victory. Part of Morris’ success was that after fending off three match points, she was oblivious to the score until she won.
“I felt really good the whole way,” Morris said. “I didn’t really know what was happening until it was over. If you know you have nothing to lose, you just keep fighting and hope something will change.”
Murphy remembers the value of conditioning when she was a member of the women's tennis team at Penn State University. She also learned something from her coach she has taken with her to Lake Forest. Her coach ran with the team, and she does the same.
“I love it,” Murphy said. “It is a good workout sprinting up the hill. Tennis is all about footwork. You can have great strokes, but if you don’t get in position they won’t do you any good.”
Murphy’s biggest job is getting the Scouts in the right frame of mind as the postseason starts Thursday, Oct. 6, with the North Suburban Conference Meet. The Sectional follows Oct. 15 with the state meet set the next weekend.
With four of the six state qualifiers gone from last year, Murphy is coaching the team to be relaxed and play as well as it can. , who finished second in state in doubles with Haleigh McPeek, is back along with Taya Zoubareva. Morris, Orfanos and Victoria Falk figure to be part of the equation as well when the postseason begins.
“If they all play the best that they can, everything will take care of itself,” said Murphy, who believes the Scouts can place among the top four teams at State.
Creating a Team
Murphy already has taken a group of 13 tennis players used to the individual rigors of U.S. Tennis Association tournament play and molded them into a team where each player cares about the other.
“We are working together to not only improve our own game, but challenging each other to raise their ability as well,” Murphy said. “Energy and chemistry, when it’s there, it is so awesome. It helps people to rise above their ability.”
Murphy must choose who will play singles and select the doubles tandems based on the best lineup to help the Scouts earn team points. These do not always comport with individual goals the athletes have playing USTA events.
“Everyone is there to help each other,” Morris said. “It’s nice to have them cheering for me. It’s different from the USTA, when you are all by yourself.”
Murphy has organized group activities like nights out and group projects off the court, such as volunteering together at the House of Peace women’s shelter to help the team bond.
“We had dinner and went to see the Lion King,” Falk said. “We have more activities we do with each other.”