Mount Si tennis squad starts season anew

Junior Allie Van Bryce will look to bring the heat during the girls tennis season this spring. - Seth Truscott / Snoqualmie Valley Record
Junior Allie Van Bryce will look to bring the heat during the girls tennis season this spring.
— image credit: Seth Truscott / Snoqualmie Valley Record

Mount Si’s girls tennis program is starting a new era this spring, as the program welcomes in a new leader.

Coach Eric Hanson replaces former longtime coach Sue Gallacher, who did not come back for a 12th season at the helm of the team. In Gallacher’s last season, Mount Si finished winless as a team. Hanson has volunteered as an assistant with the tennis program in the past, mainly with the boys under their ex-coach Gary Olson. He is excited for the season and credits Gallacher.

“Coach Sue last year did a wonderful job and left this program in great shape,” Hanson said.

The team’s lone varsity returnee, junior Allie Van Bryce, is looking forward to working with her new coach.

“I think he’s going to be a really great coach, and really going to help us stick together as a team,” she said. “This year is really going to be about having fun and about teamwork.”

Van Bryce expects to have a solid season, win most of her matches, “and to definitely give 100 percent,” she said. Van Bryce also hopes to be a good role model for the new girls that are coming out.

“We have a lot of girls with great potential,” she said.

Hanson is thrilled about his top player.

“She’s been taking lessons and she’s been playing, and it shows on the court,” he said.

There are around 40 girls who turned out for the team this season, and Hanson thinks that he and longtime Mount Si tennis assistant Jane Job will have to make cuts, expected late last week. Eventually, the coach wants to change that.

“In my tenure here, if all goes well, I would like to coach at least three years,” he said. “One of my goals is to see if we can get to a no-cut policy.”

Hanson knows of several other schools who currently have such a policy, ensuring that all players who turn out get a chance to compete in the program for the whole season.

Another junior that might land a spot on varsity this season is Alix Crandell. She is taking a more modest approach to things.

Crandell plans “to try and do my best and have fun.” She hopes to lead by example, making sure that everyone has fun and encouraging teammates to do the best that they can.

There are no seniors this year, so juniors like Crandell and Van Bryce will be looked upon for more than just good play; their leadership skills will be key as well.

Mercer Island and Bellevue are expected to be the strong teams in the 3A division this season, according to Hanson.

Last week, practices were about giving players the basics.

“We are just giving tips,” Hanson said. “Because we have so many girls, we are making sure everyone has an equal opportunity to compete.

“We are doing basic warmups and we have the routine that we would follow in practice, but we’re not into too much detail with the drills yet,” he added.

Van Bryce tells parents that the tennis program isn’t just about winning games.

“Even if it’s having your kids come out here just to play for fun, you don’t have to come out to be competitive,” she said. “It’s a great thing for people to get their kids socially interacting with other students.”

Hanson is ready to get the season started.

“We’re excited,” he said. “I’m sort of a go-getter and I’m a promoter, so we are going to try on the varsity level and make it special.”

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