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The news site of Ludlow High School

The Cub

The news site of Ludlow High School

The Cub

Ludlow High School Welcomes Alumni Mary Jordan as New Tennis Coach

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The tennis program at Ludlow High School has always been characterized by success. Especially considering the 2022 and 2023 seasons where the girls brought home two Western Mass Class B championships back to back. A lot of this can be attributed to coaching. Many accomplishments were won with longtime coach John Carlin, and the past two championships with the most recent coach Steven Duquette.

For the 2024 season though, it’s a clean slate with a new coach, and LHS alumni, Mary Jordan ’19. 

Mary is not only LHS alumni, but was a core member of the Girl’s Tennis Team from 2016 through 2019. Her freshman year she jumped into playing starting doubles and occasionally singles. As she continued with high school, she cemented her role as first doubles with McKenna Ryczek as her doubles partner. She was a leader on the team and also participated in summer tennis camps hosted at the high school. At camp, alongside her coach and teammates, she would have fun with kids while teaching them tennis. Though she was an excellent tennis player, Mary was also a triple-threat athlete with an accomplished soccer and basketball career. She was a good student throughout her time at Ludlow High and was a fun and recognizable personality. After high school, she started her education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has spent the past four years studying there until she recently graduated this past spring. 

Past coach, Steven Duquette, left Ludlow’s cracked courts for an opportunity to coach the boy’s team at Western New England University. So that left the question for myself and all the other girls on the team this year: who would be our coach? Would it be a former tennis player? Or someone who didn’t even know the game? The former ended up being correct when it was announced that past doubles champion Mary Jordan would take over responsibility of our team. When I asked Mary why she decided to coach our team, she explained how she knew there was an opening for a new head coach and she was more than willing to take it. She went on to say how tennis has played a huge role in her life. “Tennis is a passion of mine and this has been a full circle moment for me, as I was once a student-athlete in this same program. I enjoyed my time when I was in their shoes and I hope to create a positive environment for them to enjoy their experience just as much.”

With a record of 11-6, Coach Mary Jordan has taken the girl’s tennis team under her wing for the better this season. Lots of the team’s success this year can be attributed to her strategic drills and excellent way of bonding the team together. This season, Mary focused on using a mix of drills from her own time as a tennis player, as well as bringing in new training. Being a former player on the team, Mary was able to use her own personal experiences from matches to aid us on our own. For doubles specifically (her area of expertise), she focused heavily on poaching drills and shots to rely on (her go to being the slice). While Coach Mary enforced good hard-working practice, she also encouraged a good environment for the team. As Junior and third singles player Bella Cyr puts it: “This year we’ve really connected as a team and it’s been really fun.” To start off almost every practice this year, Mary began with a fun group activity that included everyone. Whether it be karaoke or “tennis hockey,” Coach Mary always found ways to connect us to our teammates.

Match days are always fun with our coach. For most of the season, our team has been on the road, with a few home matches scrambled here and there. Every match day, Coach Mary had us use the “Poiz” app, an app designed to help set reasonable goals for yourself and mentally prepare for games. If we were on our way to another school we would get the encouraging text of “Poiz!” or a reminder from across the bus. Other than that, match days were filled with bus rides with good music, wins and losses, and pre-game pep talks. During matches, in between games, Coach Mary always knows the right thing to say. You could be down 5-love and she would still have advice for a comeback. Her input is always helpful and has aided me in all of my own matches. The best thing about how Coach Mary handles matches is how she reacts if you win or lose. If you lose a match, it is not the end of the world, but in practice the next day she will work with you on what you did wrong. Which is extremely beneficial to growing as a player. 

As a member of the girls tennis team, I can speak for myself and the team when I say how valuable Mary Jordan has been as our coach this season. Not only has she pushed us to be the best we can, she’s introduced new ways of practicing and has brought the team together. As starting sophomore Ashlyn Mortimer puts it: “With a new coach I learned different skills and made more improvements as a player.” Using her own successes from her glory days, Coach Mary is able to give the team a different perspective. By giving us doubles tips that herself and her own doubles partner used, and by teaching me how to do her go to slice, Mary has utilized her background as a former member of the tennis team for the better. With the 2024 season ending, myself and other teammates cannot wait to continue our time with our coach. Mary Jordan is what the Girls Varsity Tennis Team needed, and we are all very excited to see what she has in store for next season.

 

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