FRASER — Last season, the Fraser High girls tennis team took second place in the Macomb Area Conference Blue Division, finishing just one point behind Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse in the division standings.
This time around, coach Greg Dalida has even loftier ambitions for his Ramblers.
“We’re always trying to win our matches, and trying to win the league,” Dalida said. “Our first and primary goal is to be better tomorrow than we are today.
“Every single day, we’re just looking to get better, so when we show up, especially at the end of the year, we’re playing our best tennis when it matters most.”
Although Fraser (0-1 at press time) graduated 11 players from last year’s team, the Ramblers do have approximately 20 returning players to try to accomplish the goal of taking the top spot in the MAC Blue. With around 20 new girls also in the mix, Dalida said he may need his returning players to take on a leadership role in order for the Ramblers to make this season successful.
“We expect our returners to teach our younger girls the way we do stuff at practice and at matches,” he said. “Supporting each other, cheering each other on.
“As far as leadership, a lot of the girls know each other because they’ve been playing for a whole bunch of years. So far, they show up, try to take care of business and move on.”
Even if Dalida does get the kind of leadership and production he is hoping for from his players, winning a Blue title isn’t likely to be an easy task. Dalida, in his seventh season as Fraser’s coach, has a pretty good idea of the quality of opponents his team will likely see in league play.
“I’m expecting it to be extremely competitive,” he said. “Last year, there were a couple teams that were a little young, that are now a year older. Everybody was competitive last year, so I’m expecting more of the same this year. It’s a good group of teams — some well-coached teams (and) some good players all the way throughout. It’ll be fun.”
According to Dalida, the Ramblers’ biggest strength is the depth on their roster. Aside from just talent and ability, Dalida said his players have a desire to finish with a Blue championship.
“They look at it and say, ‘OK, this is a badge of honor for Fraser to be at the top of the division, to work harder, to find a way,’” Dalida said. “That’s what they try to do. They (want to) win.”
Fraser next hits the court against Warren Cousino at 4 p.m. April 17 at home.