Tennis: Kirschmann rises to the top

Jessica Kirschmann went from being No. 4 on the JV ladder as a sophomore to No. 1 singles on the varsity this season.

When Jessica Kirschmann had surgery on her right wrist June 9, she wasn’t sure how it would affect her senior season playing on the San Benito High girls tennis team. Turns out things have gone better than Kirschmann could’ve ever imagined. Kirschmann has never played better, as evidenced by her 6-2, 6-0 win over Christopher’s Sydney Tran at No. 1 singles on Oct. 20.
Although the Haybalers lost the match, 4-3, Kirschmann, Megan Hurley at No. 2 singles and Heidi Bribiesca at No. 4 all were impressive in their straight-set victories.
“Jessica and Megan have been with us for all four years, and we’re so pleased with how they’ve turned out,” San Benito assistant coach Rick Espino said. “It’s fitting they’re finishing their careers here as our 1-2 players. And Heidi has really impressed us with her play in singles this year.”
The Balers’ No 3 singles player, freshman Julia Pearson, has the potential to be one of the program’s best players in recent memory. Even though Pearson lost her match to Christopher—it was her first loss in league play—it’s clear she’s got the game and work ethic to become one of the league’s top players by her senior year.
“Julia is a fast counterpuncher and has got a solid game,” Espino said. “She’s going to work hard in the off-season because she has a desire to improve and wants to be a top player.”
Kirschmann has a strong motivation to improve as well. Having been accepted to Doane University in Nebraska, Kirschmann had a hitting session with one of the team’s players during her campus visit last spring. Kirschmann said there would be academic and athletic scholarship money should she choose to attend Doane.
Armed with a solid all-around game, Kirschmann only started playing tennis the summer before her freshman year. Kirschmann went from being at the bottom of the junior varsity ladder as a freshman to No. 4 on the junior varsity as a sophomore to No. 2 varsity singles a year ago.
Now in the twilight of her high school career, Kirschmann has never enjoyed the game more. Sidelined during the summer because of the triangular fibrocartilage complex surgery, Kirschmann could only watch her teammates practice.
“It was sad not being able to play with them,” she said. “I couldn’t do anything but rest my wrist. It was a boring summer.”
Kirschmann was cleared to play on the first day of practice, a day she remembers with vivid detail.
“It was kind of awkward having a racket in my hand,” she said. “But it didn’t take me too long to get used to it. I got stronger as the weeks went along, and now I’m feeling better than I ever did last year.”

Leave your comments