The Alpena girls tennis team has a busy week in store.
The Wildcats had a meet Monday in Cadillac and they have two more meets this week, including one in Traverse City against Traverse City West on Thursday and in Grayling against Saginaw Nouvel on Friday.
They've had a tough time getting any play time at home this season though.
Out of their four scheduled home meets, they played one in rather cold conditions while two more have been canceled. They were supposed to play at home today, but cancellations and rescheduling put them on the road again.
"It's just rough on the girls to do so much travelling. We leave for some matches at five in the morning and the girls miss a whole day of school," Alpena coach Charlie Giordano said.
However, the team isn't going to let this bother them. The Wildcats have some some solid players this year and should be able to stay competitive, even on the road.
Giordano knows what to expect from the teams he'll be facing this week.
"Cadillac has a new coach and they're decent. They lost a lot of seniors last year so I think we'll be able to be more competitive this year. I think our one single seed and our one double seed should do a good job. We've played Saginaw (Nouvel) in tournaments and we usually come in first or second in groups of five so we should stay close with them," Giordano said.
The one, two and three singles slots are filled with the most experienced players on the team. The girls tennis team has steadily improved over the last few years as more girls get experience and begin to understand the strategy of the game more fully.
"They're playing longer games, keeping the ball in the air longer and creating more volleys. They're not just hitting the ball around any more they're understanding the game more deeply and creating strategies for specific opponents," Giordano said.
They're also learning to avoid being intimidated by players during matches and are increasing their number of wins steadily throughout the season.
The hardest part for the season has been getting a break during all the grueling traveling that comes with playing so many away meets.
"Even if you schedule for after school, they still get home late and can't get their homework done. And these girls are all in the top prep classes, dual enrolled, college bound girls. It's been hectic the last two weeks. But we've been able to have a few more casual days to help us relax and just have a little fun," Giordano said.
Alpena's next home meet is on May 14.
Eric Benac can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.