Newton South girls’ tennis looks to serve strong 2024 season

Newton South’s girls’ tennis team is back in the swing of things.

Led by the strong leadership of head coach Noura Guermazi, the group eyes another fun and successful season.

The team, which reached the 2023 Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association playoffs as the sixth seed, had its first preseason match on Monday, April 1 against Brookline.

Sophomore Olivia Whitaker called the team’s commanding 5-0 sweep a great start for the season and an important confidence booster.

“Having the match really just took a lot of the stress off,” Whitaker said. “To start the season off with a sweep was really important for our morale because at practices, I think all of us were just adjusting to being outside.” 

Junior Jenna Kriensky, who has played many different sports, said the team’s positive and inclusive culture is what makes the group unique. 

“It’s honestly such an amazing environment. Everybody’s so nice and genuinely everybody really, really gets along,” she said.

The team’s value of bonding through sleepovers, team dinners and constant support through the matches sets the group up for success both on and off the court. Kriensky said the team’s positivity has trickled down from Guermazi.

“She really fostered an amazing team environment,” Kriensky said. “She really made sure that we all were one team and we really bonded with each other.”

Guermazi focuses on cultivating an inclusive team from tryouts through determining the roster based on character in addition to skill. She also takes a unique approach in terms of practicing: Varsity and JV practice and work out together in order to optimize the relationships her players are able to build.

“I want them to really enjoy each other and then enjoy a sport that they love, even though they might have different levels,” she said.

Kriensky said this unique approach benefits both varsity and JV players and helps enhance the skill and spirit of the team.

“It’s just really fun and really challenging that we get to practice with [varsity players] who are crazy good,” she said. “Otherwise, we probably would never get the chance and it really helps us improve a lot.” 

Guermazi and her assistant coaches are still playing tennis competitively, which brings an insightful perspective to coaching.

“Because we still are playing a lot, that makes us also very understanding when players make mistakes, as we can help them more because we’re still very competitive,” she said.

The program had 44 girls try out this spring, and Whitaker called the increase in interest for tennis exciting.

“Last year, we literally just had the seven people that we needed for varsity, but now we have alternates on varsity, which gives more people opportunities to play,” she said. “It’s just really great to see tennis gaining more popularity at South.”

Newton North scores


BC High: 7 (1-0), Tigers: 0 (0-1)

Lacrosse, Boys

Tigers: 13 (1-0), Weymouth: 9 (2-1)

Lacrosse, Girls

Andover: 15 (1-0), Tigers: 7 (1-1)

Tigers: 15, Westford Academy: 11 (1-1)

Ultimate Frisbee, Boys

Needham: 15 (1-0), Tigers: 5 (0-1)

Ultimate Frisbee, Girls

Tigers: 15 (1-0), Winchester: 4 (0-1)

Volleyball, Boys

Tigers: 3 (1-0), Cambridge Rindge & Latin: 0 (1-2)