SPRINGVILLE — It’s been a steady climb for Gabby Hartman, throughout her years playing varsity tennis at Springville-Griffith Institute. Hartman, a junior, has been the top singles player at Springville since her freshman year. This year, she has been selected as a first team all-star, for Erie County Interscholastic Conference Division 4.
“Gabby’s play was much more consistent this year than it has been, in past years,” said Springville head coach Frank Noeson. “She’s gained confidence in some of the areas of her game that she’d lacked previously, making her a versatile player, now.”
Coming into the season, Springville returned six players with varsity experience, after graduating nine seniors from the 2012 squad. Hartman returned to lead the team to an eight-win season, as one of the team’s captains.
“She was selected as a captain this year and definitely was someone we could count on, every match,” added Noeson. “Her dedication to the game and her abilities made her someone that all other players could look up to.”
Hartman started the year by winning her first seven matches. Among her early-season victories, she took down the top singles player from East Aurora, a top tennis program in the area. She finished the year with a record of 11-5.
“Gabby’s strength this year was her ability to control points,” said Noeson, about his top singles player. “She hits the ball, especially her forehand, with tremendous pace. This year, she really focused on playing angles and keeping the ball in the corners. Her pace, along with this placement, made it very difficult for her opponents to play the ball back deep; allowing her to use her next shot into the other corner, as a winner.”
Although Hartman has been a winning player for the past few years, she has shown vast improvement in her game, since her freshman year, Noeson noted.
“She was free-swinging and spirited,” said Noeson, about Hartman’s freshman season. “The expectations, that first year, weren’t as high, so there was less pressure. Entering her sophomore season, people knew about her, and because of previous success, the pressure was high. She sets very high standards for herself, and when not met, she was easily frustrated. She’d get down on herself and her play showed it.
“She still did well, but I don’t feel she played to her potential,” the coach continued. “By far, the largest improvement Gabby made [this year] was in her mental game. She played each point, game and set as if it was the first one. She was able to forget and shake off bad points. She played with much more energy, this year; we didn’t have those bouts of frustration.”
Hartman plays tennis year-round, participating in indoor tennis lessons, as well as competing in a summer league, at the Orchard Park Country Club. Hartman will look to build on her strong junior campaign and compete for a Section VI title, as a senior.
“Gabby has really been a pleasure to work with,” said Noeson. “It’s refreshing, as a coach, to see someone who works so much in the offseason, and obviously, it pays off. She is a top singles player, in the division, and still has her senior year to come. We’re looking for great things from Gabby, again next year.”