By Edwin Sam ‘13, Sports Section Editor
After going undefeated during the regular season, Freshman Danielle Wolf ‘15 carried her momentum into the state semi-final where she was stymied, battling through sickness and fatigue to secure fourth place from her trip to states.
Wolf, the only freshman in the tournament, entered confident but nervous about the daunting challenge confronting her. “I was just really excited to be at states, and I was really nervous,” Wolf explained. “As I went through the match, I became less and less nervous.” It did not take her long to settle into the tournament as she comfortably won her first match 6-2, 6-2.
Her quarterfinal match was against an opponent who Wolf had played two years earlier in a USTA tournament. Though Wolf lost the match two years earlier 2-6, 5-7, she was able to produce a straight sets victory to send herself into the state semi-final.
The semi-final match, against a senior who finished runner-up in states the year before, was not as comfortable as the matches before it. Wolf was able start the match in spectacular fashion, winning the first set 6-3 before falling behind and losing the second 2-6. A decisive third set was needed to break the deadlock. After tying the last set at 5-5, Wolf lost the next two games and the match ended with the heartbreaking score of 6-3, 2-6, 5-7.
After being eliminated in the semi-final match, Wolf faced adversity before her consolation match for third place. “I got sick after the [semi-final] match with the flu. During the entire [consolation] match, I was drained of energy.” Wolf said. She was able to cache her exhaustion during the first set which she won 6-2, but her lack of energy was pivotal as she lost the next two sets 3-6, 1-6.
Though the final result was not what she wanted, she was able to take many positives from the tournament to improve for next year. “States has helped me a lot with my mental toughness and getting through these tough matches,” Wolf elaborated, “Next year, I will come into the tournament more experienced and ready for what’s to come.”
Rather than viewing the experience as a disappointment, Wolf looks at it as a measuring stick of how far she has progressed over the course of the season and what to change going into next year. “I need to work on my serve because a lot of these girls are bigger than me and can hit extremely hard,” explained Wolf, “I want to work on getting stronger and playing more, so I have the experience to win big matches at states next year.”
Even after coming so far into the state tournament, Wolf is still able to stay humble and attribute her success to her coach, Lynne Schneebeck. “My coach, Lynne, has helped a ton. She’s been really supportive and has given great advice. She helps relax me and keep me calm which is a huge factor because I’m always nervous.”
Along with her coach, Wolf gives credit to her supportive teammates for helping her attain many accomplishments during her prosperous season. Three of her teammates made the trip to watch her at districts and two even traveled to Columbus to watch her at states. “It was just a great feeling having them supporting me and being there for me. It was a really big factor in me playing how I did.”
As Wolf realized after the semi-final, not all matches are about winning or losing, but how you respond to that victory or defeat. When she combines her experience from this season with her improvement, physically and mentally, over the course of this coming year, Danielle Wolf will have no barriers inhibiting her success as she looks to capture the state title.
Photo Courtesy of Danielle Wolf ‘15