GC Tennis Freshman Take on Leadership Roles


Ty Peavy, Staff Writer

The GC men’s and women’s tennis teams have seen a pair of international freshmen lead the way at line one singles this spring.

Sofia Shing, who hails from New Zealand, has led the women’s team to a hot 13-4 overall record as a freshman with a singles record of 9-6.

Meanwhile, Polish freshman Karol Malirz has racked up six wins for the men’s team. Both freshmen have picked up big responsibilities in their first year, and they have both handled them exceptionally well.

Shing is the number one singles player as a freshman for the women’s team. While this role is a big responsibility for a freshman, the leadership remains with the seniors, and they have been a big help for Shing.

“Even though I am playing number 1 singles, I think that the leadership really stays with the seniors,” Shing said. “Everybody respects that.”

This strong senior leadership has been very important to the women’s team as they have found a lot of success as of late.

Men’s and women’s head coach Steve Barsby is hoping that the energy behind this hot start spreads to more of his teams in the coming years.

“Every one of these players comes from playing number one singles in high school,” Barsby said. “It is very important to stress the importance of the team aspect of tennis when they get to college.”

The men’s team had a very difficult opening schedule, and they currently hold a 6-8 record. While the team has endured tough opponents throughout the spring, freshman Karol Malirz has gotten off to an impressive start for a freshman.

“Line one has been very tough,” Malirz said. “Everyone is really solid at one, and with our difficult schedule thus far, these teams’ top three players have been some of the best in the conference. I feel like I have handled my own. I have had some good matches and some tough matches, but it takes time adjusting as a freshman.”

Malirz has a 6-7 singles record, which is solid for his first collegiate season, given the level of competition he has faced. The men’s team will be looking to turn their season around as they approach postseason play. They recently picked up a big win over conference opponent Young Harris to firmly place themselves in the driver’s seat for postseason qualification.

Both freshman tennis players have been extremely impressive. As rookies playing line one singles, they have had to adjust to life in the US while balancing school and sports on top of that. They have both handled the responsibility very well, and they have both contributed positively to their teams. Barsby is excited to see these freshmen continue to grow and develop as players and people.

“They have done a great job handling the responsibility,” Barsby said. “They are very different types of leaders, Sofia is more of a quiet leader, while Karol is a much more vocal leader, but they are both already beginning to lead as freshmen.”

Shing and Malirz will be players to watch out for in the future.