If there’s one thing to be said about University High School’s girls tennis team, it’s that the seniors don’t take themselves too seriously.
Optimistic & Fun-Loving
In an interview peppered with random bursts of song – they do an especially good rendition of the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” and like to quote Corbin Bleu’s many hits – Audrey Geipel, Lauren Masoncup, and Bronwynn Woodsworth, three of the team’s four seniors, described their leadership style as optimistic and fun-loving, with a dash of empathy thrown in.
Their good humor couldn’t help but shine through, in the same way it does in practice each day.
“Tennis is just life-sized Ping-Pong,” said Masoncup.
“Love means nothing,” added Geipel. (She had to explain this one.)
“I would say, the DJ Khaled song, ‘All I Do Is Win’ – that’s the goal for this season,” said Woodsworth. “Is it realistic? Slightly.”
Head Coach Adam Seif, who coaches alongside his twin brother, recognizes the importance that good humor plays in team morale this season.
“The girls really come together as a team,” he said. “Even after their match is done, they’re going to watch the other players and cheer them on. I can tell they’re all very close. Audrey, Bronwynn, and Lauren are our top three that are going to bring everyone together.”
This team spirit is so strong, in fact, that it’s spread to the greater school community. Before the team’s first match last week, they had already inspired a following. Four students showed up at the tennis court one afternoon just to watch them practice.
What’s drawing these ardent supporters? Instagram, the girls say with a laugh.
An Online Presence
“I feel like our legacy is the dance videos we post on Instagram,” said Woodsworth. “We have far more interesting content than most of the other teams.”
Posting on Instagram has become a game-day ritual for Geipel and Woodsworth in particular. It started the day of their first match last season, with a serious-looking pose shot from behind the tennis fence. Geipel’s caption (@Geipey) read, “I turned down the warmth on this picture because we don’t need your warmth. We are warmed by the fires in our hearts.”
This tradition has grown to include videos (often of dancing) set to music, off-season hyping of the tennis team, and other self-deprecating captions, like this one by Woodsworth (@bwoods99): “Did someone say win? Because we almost did.”
“I feel like it’s more important to have a good team attitude than a good record,” said Woodsworth.
With 2.5 matches behind them this season (their match against Tiger Tennis was canceled due to weather shortly after it began), the University High School girls tennis team is primed to have both. The team lost a close match to Western Boone on Wednesday, April 12, but then won a close match against Zionsville’s 9th Grade team the following day.
For that match, Coach Seif rested the seniors and relied only on the underclassmen. Sophomore Gabby Hakes and freshman Olivia Hakes, in particular, stepped up. Seif sees great promise in some of the new players to the team this season.
“We have six players that are back from last season, and a lot of them are pretty good,” said Seif. “Gabby [Hakes] is a strong player, and her sister, [freshman] Olivia, has been playing a lot of tennis. She hits the ball really well. There’s another freshman, Ellen [Trautman]; she’s good too. With our returning players and those two freshmen, we should have six or seven really strong players.”
The seniors agree.
“We’ve got some strong new players, and we are excited to see them progress through the season,” said Masoncup.
Rounding out the roster of 12 are senior Cissy Luo (who was not at practice the day the seniors were interviewed), junior Sydney Rogers, sophomore Violet Worth, and freshmen Isabela Wise, Maya Callan, and Isabella Garino-Heisey.
Looking forward, the team has some big matches coming up in the next few weeks, against teams like Westfield, Cathedral, Guerin and more. Their next home match is Friday, April 21 at 5:30 p.m. against conference rival Seton Catholic. What the players are counting on is a fierce fan presence.
“It’ll be like girls basketball sectionals,” said Geipel.
“Only quiet,” added Woodsworth.