Olympic seniors Marissa Nemeth, Sydney Troy and Emry Bohlmann are seeking a long playoff run that begins with the Olympic League tournament this week
EAST BREMERTON — It wasn’t a perfect Olympic League girls tennis season for Marissa Nemeth, Sydney Troy
The playoffs begin with the Olympic League tournament, Friday and Saturday at 8 a.m. at North Kitsap High School in Poulsbo. The top eight move on to the West Central District tournament at the Kitsap Tennis & Athletic Club in Bremerton May 17-18. A one or two-seed in
Nemeth is the No. 1 seed overall in the Olympic League in singles. And despite missing some time on the court due to a foot injury, she dominated her opponents. Nemeth admitted she enjoyed the “top dog” role but knows that comes with a target on her back.
“Everyone’s always out to beat number one because everyone wants to be number one,” she said.
Olympic coach Jeff Trainer said Nemeth is playing well right now.
“Over the last two weeks has been big for her,” he said, “working harder at practice and playing well in matches.”
Nemeth said she has a good shot of placing top three at state, which is her goal after finishing sixth last season. Nemeth began playing tennis at the age of nine at the KTAC but took time off of year-round practice to enjoy her love of dance, whether it was jazz, ballet or hip hop and she also played soccer. Now as a senior Nemeth can see the time away didn’t develop her overall game like her counterparts but it didn’t put her at a huge disadvantage thanks to her natural talents.
Nemeth said she enjoys being good at several activities rather than excel at one. After a car accident in 2011, Nemeth had physical therapy to help with a low-back injury and found that she couldn’t advance in dancing.
“I definitely didn’t enjoy it as much as tennis,” she said. “What drew me back was the competitive aspect.”
Maturity also has helped her overcome pre-match jitters, something she experienced as a freshman and sophomore at state.
“I feel like I’m experienced enough that I literally almost never get in my own head,” she said.
Nemeth said playing at the Nordstrom Tennis Center at the University of Washington is an experience in itself. The indoor courts where the action takes place is a revolving door of matches. Fans watch from the seating area above the courts, and while it’s not a large stadium there is an energy coming from the fans that can be distracting to first-time players.
Nemeth she’s able to shut out the distractions when she’s playing.
“Being there twice I definitely feel like that helps,” she said. “I know where everything is.”
Troy is looking to make her third state tournament and will do it with new partner Bohlmann. The pair are seeded No. 2 into the OL tournament.
“Emry and I have actually known each other since we were three years old,” Troy said.
“And we’ve been pretty much best friends ever since,” Bohlmann added.
Part of having a new partner is the ability to work together, and with their friendship intact it was just a matter of figuring out their strengths and weaknesses.
Bohlmann’s introduction to high school tennis got off to a strong start when she made varsity as a freshman and played No. 2 singles. Bohlmann hit a setback her sophomore year when she was injured during the winter basketball season. Bohlmann tore her ACL and meniscus during a game against Kingston and was slow to recover. She had limited playing time her junior season but is now fully healthy and ready to break into the postseason with an experienced playing partner.
Bohlmann said once she was around her tennis teammates full-time her spirits were lifted.
“Being around those girls it was way easier,” she said, “and the coaches. The coaches are amazing.”
Bohlmann said she didn’t enjoy singles “I enjoy playing with people,” so coach Trainer paired her with Troy.
The two clicked on the court.
“They have that relationship and … they’re so different personality-wise but they complement each other very well in what they can do,” Trainer said.
Bohlmann is a fiery competitor and will be hard on herself for mistakes. Troy is more steady. Never too high or too low. The pair come together on the court with Troy evening out Bohlmann and Bohlmann firing up Troy.
“When I’m not winning I’m really hard on myself, so it’s nice to have this one (Sydney) on my side to bring me up — she’s good at that,” Bohlmann said.
“If Emry gets down, I know how to lift her up and if I get down she knows how to lift me up,” Troy added.
Their chemistry led them to wins in nearly every match this season— their lone losses were to Sequim as OL teams play each other twice during the regular season.
Chances are strong the Trojans pair will wind up facing the Sequim duo again in the doubles final as well as at district, but that’s all right with them.
“I can guarantee you we can beat everyone else,” Bohlmann said. “On a good day … a really, really good day … we can give it to Sequim.”
“We know our strengths and I definitely think we’re going to capitalize on our strengths,” Troy added.
“Absolutely,” Bohlmann said.
With that in mind, Troy has a goal that Bohlmann will do everything she can to make come true.
“My one goal this year is that I want to make it to the second day of state,” Troy said.