Tennis team star enters final year

Tennis team star enters final year

Marley Hambourger

SERVE UP: Revving up for a serve, Caroline Ryba concentrates on winning the point. This Ryba's fourth and final year playing first singles for South.

Madison O'Brien, co-features editor

All four years of her high school career, senior Caroline Ryba has been South’s number one singles player on the varsity tennis team. According to Ryba, she began playing tennis when she was nine years old and immediately fell in love with the sport.

“I love [tennis] because it’s individual, so you’re playing for yourself and you don’t have teammates relying on you,” Ryba said. “You don’t have to rely on teammates.”

According to Kathryn Nicolotti, varsity tennis coach, Ryba has had many accomplishments throughout her tennis career at South.

“[These past three years] she has been named all conference, she has been our team’s MVP and she won sectionals her sophomore and junior year,” Nicolotti said. “Last year she led the team to a sectional title for the first time in 20 years and finished 9-12 in the state tournament, so she was second team all state last season.”

Following her many accomplishments, Ryba continues to set goals for herself and her team.

“[One of my goals for this season] is to go further at state this year,” Ryba said. “I haven’t gotten past the fourth round yet, so I want to do that. And as a team I want all of us to qualify […] and for us to win sectionals again […] because we won last year for the first time in 20 years, which was huge, so if we could do that again it’d be a great way to leave South.”

Ryba’s position as captain this year gives her a larger leadership role, allowing her to hopefully make those goals a reality, according to Nicolotti.

“This year as a captain, it has been really fun watching her take a more prominent leadership position on the team,” Nicolotti said. “She always leads by example, she’s a beautiful tennis player, she’s a class act when she’s on the court, she’s very modest, and at the same time, just a really smart player.”

Senior Megan Kay, varsity tennis co-captain with Ryba, echoed some of Nicolotti’s thoughts.

“[Ryba] is honestly one of the most hard working girls I know on and off the court,” Kay said. “She is also very kind and such a good leader because she is very respected and reaches out to everyone on the team.”

According to Ryba, she is looking forward to her last season with her teammates, but she is also looking forward to playing tennis at the University of Minnesota next year.

“I think I am really going to miss high school tennis,” Ryba said. “It will be really sad to not come back and play for the team next year because it has just been so much fun, but I look forward to being at Minnesota also.”

Nicolotti explained that Ryba will definitely be missed next season.

“She’s the first player that I will have coached her entire high school career, so I will certainly miss having her on the team, and I know that the girls will too,” Nicolotti said.