Timberland's Drew ready to take aim at return trip to state tournament

2011-08-13T09:15:00Z 2011-08-14T16:04:36Z Timberland's Drew ready to take aim at return trip to state tournamentBy Jim Faasen | STLhighschoolsports.com stltoday.com
August 13, 2011 9:15 am  • 

One fact has pretty much held true when it comes to the high school tennis career of Timberland senior Savannah Drew.

Each postseason, Drew has improved upon her game enough to advance further into the Missouri High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) single tournament.

If that trend continues, then the entire Class 2 state field better be on the lookout for Drew this season.

After ending her season in earlier rounds of state play as a freshman and sophomore, Drew made it to the last day of competition last year when she took fourth in the state in Class 2.

"I am very excited about this year," Drew said. "I don't feel any pressure at all. I just feel like it is my last year and I am going to go out, play my hardest and have a good time. Your senior year only happens once, so I just feel like I can go out and play tennis, so that's what I plan to do."

Drew's cool demeanor, while good for her, is probably a bad thing for the competition.

While it is likely to foster a looser type of play from Drew, that's not to say it will mean any less competitiveness or skill from the senior. It is probably, in fact, going to be quite the contrary for Drew.

She has put a lot of hard work in during the summer and while the senior isn't out for blood, it's not like she needs to be. She's going to let her game do the talking this fall.

"Savannah has worked so hard in the offseason and she has worked with several different (tennis) pros," Timberland coach Molly Kleiber said. "She has changed up her game, so hopefully she still has that edge that she's always had on her competitors."

One way Drew has worked to maintain her edge on the competition is by going soft. Not in her hitting or in her approach to the game, mind you, but in a very crucial area for a tennis player.

"Her hands have gotten much softer," Kleiber said. "That helps her volley, so they have changed tremendously. She has also tweaked her serve and it has gotten much better. The little tweaks that we talked about at the end of (last) season, she definitely worked on. She worked with a trainer. She has toned herself up to give herself a better physical edge."

Drew said her work over the summer will be most beneficial in that she will be physically ready to go as the season begins, whereas some of her competition might need a few days or weeks to get into tennis playing shape.

She added that, rather than having to worry about conditioning, she's going to use that time to just hone her game and have some more fun during her final season of high school tennis.

"This is the strongest I have ever been coming into a season," Drew said. "I worked hard to (stay in tennis shape) over the summer. I played a lot of matches and played in a lot of tournaments out-of-town this summer. I think my match play has gotten a lot better, instead of just being a practice player. (The great thing about it is) winning or losing, I have just been learning so much from my mistakes. I've been learning what works for me and what doesn't work and all of that stuff."

Drew's work over the summer has put her on a par, of sorts, with a bunch of her teammates this fall.

Even though Timberland figures to have a young squad this season, she is excited about the team's prospects for this year and beyond.

"I think with the incoming freshmen we have, it really has helped," Drew said. "We have four new freshmen and they have played tennis before. I really think that will help make our team a lot stronger."

No matter what happens this year on the court, Drew would like nothing more than to keep playing tennis at the next level.

Drew would like to play tennis at a college or university while she continues her studies. She just isn't sure which college is right for her at this point.

"I am still looking," Drew said. "There are a few, but (no decision has been made)."

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