Tennis Lessons: ME Girls Tennis Team Shows Growth Against Top Competition


Even with an overall record of 8-5 and a likely berth in the MIAA tournament, Manchester Essex girls’ tennis coach Ed Conway states this season has not been an easy one.

Yes, the Hornets are 7-3 and in second place in the Cape Ann League Baker Division (just behind rival Hamilton-Wenham), and they have picked up some big wins so far this spring. But Conway contests that even though they have seen some success so far, this year has been a learning experience for his young team.

“We lost three seniors and co-captains from last year, all singles players,” explains Conway. “We are playing underclassmen at one, two, and three singles, and faced some formidable players. We are getting better, the girls are playing hard and practicing hard, but it’s a long way back. We have good days and bad days.”

Some of the good days include wins over teams like Swampscott and Marblehead. Some of those on the other end include tough losses to Newburyport and division-leading Hamilton-Wenham. However, there are lessons to be gleaned from those losses.

“We played Newburyport [on May 16] and lost 4-1, but it’s not indicative of how we played,” says Conway. “We were right on the edge for a second time against Newburyport, we just couldn’t turn it around.”

He adds: “We’re taking baby steps but in a big way. We’re learning as we go, and playing stronger teams, which, in the long run, will help us immensely.”

Thankfully, those underclassmen playing in the spotlight have proven to be up to the challenge. Vanessa Gregory has been very impressive at no. 3 singles, and Sophie Zalosh and Emory Weber-Provost have played with some of the top tennis players in the state at first and second singles, respectively. Senior captains Parker Brooks and Gracie Susko have done a great job keeping the team competition from the number one doubles spot.

Things don’t get any easier schedule-wise during the remainder of the season. Manchester Essex was scheduled to play Marblehead a second time the day after the Newburyport game, and then finish out the week with home matches against Amesbury (which serves as Senior Night for the team) and Hamilton-Wenham on May 19 and 20, respectively. The two final games of the season come against Lynnfield (May 23) and Masconomet (May 25) next week.

“This will be a good test of exactly where we are,” Conway says of the season-ending gauntlet. “I think we will hold up well and play well. The girls respond to situations like this.”

oscar wegner, svetlana ganina, ed conley, sophie zalosh, newburyport, parker brooks, vanessa gregory, gracie susko