After spending her first two fall sports seasons with the Rochelle Township High School volleyball program, Megan Thompson decided over the summer that she would begin her junior year with the Lady Hub tennis team. While she has only played the game for a few months, Thompson has already a made a significant impact with the varsity team.
Not only has Thompson earned a varsity role with the Lady Hubs, but she’s already brought home two victories in singles play including a 6-4, 7-5 win at DeKalb that helped Rochelle defeat the Barbs 4-3 for the team’s first victory of the 2020 season. Thompson wasn’t expecting to start the season on the varsity team, but she was excited nevertheless.
“I’ve had a lot of fun and the start of the season has been really encouraging to me,” Thompson said. “I really like tennis. I was planning on playing tennis this year because I have a lot of friends on the team and I thought it would be really fun. I’m really enjoying singles and the opponents I’ve played against have been really nice to me.”
Thompson played doubles in her first varsity match of the season before transitioning into Rochelle’s No. 2 singles slot. She said her recent wins over DeKalb and Rockford Lutheran have boosted her confidence, and as she continues through her first tennis season, she said her goals are to hit the ball harder and find more consistency with her hitting strokes.
“It makes me feel a lot better knowing that I can play well,” Thompson said. “We’ve been practicing a lot since the summer. I was having a tough time with my backhand hits early on, but I feel like I’ve improved on them a lot and they’re more under control now. I want to hit the ball harder with both my forehand and backhand, and I’m working on serving the ball harder.”
Thompson is one of several juniors who make up a core group of players that could be successful not only this season, but next season as well. She said head coach Lizzie Cartwright has helped her adjust to not only the varsity level, but playing a new sport in general.
“She’s really encouraging and she’s helped me feel a lot more confident about tennis,” Thompson said. “She makes sure I understand what I’m doing and she’s given me tips on how I can stay ready, stay quick on my feet and anticipate shots that have helped me play better.”