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Sports Spotlight: Lauren Hollender and Jillian Schwartz

By Daniel Kats and Jason Yoffe
Published: April 2009

Senior tennis captains Lauren Hollender and Jillian Schwartz have what it takes to dominate on the court, and they hope their success will rub off on their teammates.

Hollender’s consistent ground stoke, peppered with topspin, is just a part of her arsenal of shots that result in points.

“She’s unbelievable, Schwartz said. “She’s one of the best in the state.

Schwartz is one of South’s best doubles players. Her athleticism and experience, coupled with her in-match composure and competitive nature, combine for a very talented tennis player.

Both captains continue to strive for perfection as they trained in the off-season.

Hollender spent last winter fine-tuning her skills, competing in tournaments and receiving private instruction.

She developed her volleying technique by participating and winning in the United States Tennis Association doubles tournaments. The competitions helped her regain the tempo and speed of the match.
Laury Hammel, Hollender’s instructor at the Longfellow Club in Wayland worked on refining both her technique and her serves.

Head coach and English teacher Bob Jampol expects Schwartz to play many doubles matches this season. The clinics at Waltham Athletic Complex and lessons from her uncle, a former collegiate tennis player, further prepared her to excel in this event.

“I focused on my doubles game a lot this winter, and both my understanding and skills have improved, Schwartz said.

“There is always something that can be fixed, Hollender said.

Hollender and Schwartz hope to create an environment in which the team can become a close-knit group.
“I think a challenge for us this year is to make sure there is an atmosphere where the team can bond really well, Hollender said. “We haven’t had tons of team dinners or team events in the past, so hopefully, this year we can change that.

These captains provide the team with the balance of intensity and motivation and a sense of relaxation, necessary to be successful on the court.

“[Hollender and Schwartz] are enthusiastic players, and they are able to get everyone psyched and relaxed at the same time, Jampol said.

Hollender encourages her teammates through her positive attitude and unwavering commitment to be kind and good-natured. She looks out for others, making sure they receive credit and praise for any on-court success.

“She wants everyone to feel good about being on the team, Jampol said.

Schwartz motivates the team before matches in pregame huddles.

“Jilli is great and is really enthusiastic and always says something inspiring in the huddles, Hollender said.
Schwartz motivation does not end with her pregame pep talks, however, for Schwartz leads by example to make sure that the team stays focused during training.

“I always try to be enthusiastic about things like practices and bus rides because [the rest of the team] will hate it if the captains dread it, Schwartz said.

Hollender and Schwartz also arranged a “Psych Buddy system where players on the team give their assigned partner a gift to pump up their teammate before a match.

“It is a little different from other sports like soccer, but I think we can still show the team how excited we are and how much we all want to win together, Hollender said.

“The two work together and complement each other perfectly, Jampol said.

Their ability to motivate and unify the team in a sport where individual performance can easily supersede the needs of fellow teammates are the invaluable qualities of these exceptional leaders.

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