Tennis is different from most sports. It's important for players to hear the ball come off their opponent's racquets and get into a rhythm.
Therefore, the atmosphere at tennis matches generally is more serene than other sporting events, at least while the points are being played.
But who can blame a player for being excited to see her teammate?
The Linganore High School girls tennis team's No. 2 doubles pair of Ashley Giuffre and Ellen Woytowitz was one of the last matches on court in the Lancers' 4-1 home win over Middletown on Friday. It was moved to the end to give Woytowitz enough time to get back from an appointment in Washington, D.C.
“In the middle of a point [No. 1 doubles player] Julia [Reifman] looks over and sees her there and is just like, ‘Hi, Ellen!'” Linganore coach Katherine Becker said. “[Ellen] was in the middle of playing a point. Sometimes they make me crazy but it [seems to work for them].”
The Lancers are full of different personalities — Reifman said she will take credit for being the loudest — and game styles — junior No. 2 singles player Evelyn Flint's consistent ground game drives most of her teammates crazy.
But somehow all the pieces have fallen in the right place this spring. The team is more cohesive, Woytowitz's teammate at No. 2 doubles, senior Ashley Giuffre said, than the past three years.
At 11-0, Linganore already has equaled last year's win total and is on pace to compete for its first county championship since winning back-to-back titles in 2007-08.
That was during the Katie Schafer era. Linganore's former No. 1 was the state runner-up as a junior and won the title as a senior in 2008.
The Lancers' trust in each other on the court has been invaluable. It's taken the pressure off, Giuffre added, during tough matches.
Linganore isn't just winning, either. It's winning big.
Junior Liz York, who moved up from No. 2 singles this year, is 10-1 in the top spot. Flint, who moved to Frederick County from Seattle this year, is 8-1 and both Nos. 1 and 2 doubles are undefeated.
Reifman played singles last year but has teamed with freshman Andrea Huston in the top doubles slot this spring after they played well together for the Baltimore Indoor League during the offseason.
“I don't usually like doubles. We're both singles players but we played well with each other,” Huston said. “We know each other's strengths and weaknesses and really balance them out.”
This year's success has translated into more confidence on the court, which has helped the Lancers dig out of some matches — Reifman and Huston trailed 0-4 in the first set of Friday's match before winning 12 straight games to clinch the straight-set win.
But there is a fine line between confidence and cockiness, Giuffre said, and Linganore has to be careful not to adopt the latter.
“I'm constantly talking about keeping our heads in the game and not getting too comfortable with our record,” Becker said. “We're now playing each team a second time around and just because you beat someone the first time, doesn't mean you're going to beat them again. We have to go out like everyone is a new opponent.”
Becker said her team has the potential to win counties but does not want to look that far ahead. For now, she said she is content sitting back and watching the characters on her team blend together.
“The camaraderie on this team is really strong, the way these girls get along and support each other,” Becker said. “All the personalities gel. They're getting it done and it's fun to watch.”