Win or lose, Liberty High boys tennis coach Stephanie Ollivier loves what she does.
“I just finished my 34th consecutive season, (JV boys, varsity girls and varsity boys combined), Oilivier said. “I absolutely love coaching. I made a ton of friends, I’m going to weddings and baby showers of former players.”
This year there was lots of winning. The Patriots went 17-5 overall and 10-0 in league play to win the Southwest Yosemite League championship.
Because of the team’s performance, Ollivier is the 2019 BVarsity All-Area Boys Tennis Coach of the Year.
The only hiccup on the season was a quarterfinal loss to Paso Robles in the Central Section Division I playoffs to San Luis Obispo. That’s when No. 2 singles player Sam Guimte cramped, which cost him that match and a doubles match with partner Phillip Shafik.
Guimte and Shafik were ranked No. 2 for the section doubles tournament a week later but Guimte’s cramping issues continued and the duo had to pull out.
“What a blessing to coach this team,” Ollivier said. “About half the team I had since they were freshmen. It was one of the toughest and most resilient teams I’ve had. We’ve been through a lot: Inclement weather and our courts were not finished so we had to squeeze in practice time at Cal State (Bakersfield).
“These guys, the camaraderie was top notch. On days it rained we had a pizza pow wow near the school. We’d go over goals and just talk. It didn’t matter. We’d practice when we could. No one complained at all.”