QUESTION: Let’s go back to last year. How disappointing was another 3-2 loss to Silver Creek when you guys thought you were the better team going in?
ELLIS: “It was very disappointing. We had been working so hard all year long, and it was one of our major goals. But I can’t really complain because I knew I had another year. But I felt bad for the seniors. But this year I’m hoping is the year — hopefully.”
Q: I know you have increased the difficulty of your schedule the past couple of years. Is that something you like or are the winning streaks more important to you?
ELLIS: “I would much rather go out and face tougher teams. I mean, sure, a winning season is great. Undefeated was great last year. We did have some tough opponents that we came out on top of. I love competition. It makes it more fun. If you kill everybody, it’s not exactly the funnest.”
Q: Coming into this year, obviously the sectional at the end of the year is the goal. What do you hope to accomplish leading up to the sectional in the regular season?
ELLIS: “Obviously, conference. I’m sure we’re going for another undefeated season. But things happen, [poor] matches happen. I think, honestly, one of the major goals is becoming a better team. Teamwork. If you have people fighting, it’s not going to be fun at all, so I think having good team chemistry is a good goal for us this year.”
Q: Sectional is obviously going to be on your minds all year. Is this year’s team finally the team that’s good enough to win a sectional?
ELLIS: “In my opinion, I say yes. Of course, I think we’re good enough to win a sectional. But sectional is definitely tough for us. Silver Creek is definitely a really good team. And [Hebble] is really good. Yeah, she’s really good. It will definitely be tough, but I think we can do it.”
Q: How big would it be for you, the team and the school to win that first tennis sectional championship ever?
ELLIS: “I’ve won sectionals in basketball. But for me, a tennis sectional would be great. I would love it. I know the school would love it because it would be the first one in history. It would definitely be a huge deal. It’s something new. I just love winning, in general.”
Q: Speaking of tough competition, I know your job is the toughest. Playing No. 1 singles, do you relish that situation or dread seeing No. 1 players every time you step on the court?
ELLIS: “No, I actually it’s nice to see where you stand against players that good. Even if I get killed, it’s not that heartbreaking. I got to play somebody that good. It’s nice to even get to that point of playing someone that good.”
Q: Last Saturday, you played in the New Albany Invitational. There were some pretty good teams there and you blew everyone out, winning four of the five individual championships.
ELLIS: “Yeah, we did.”
Q: Was that a statement you made?
ELLIS: “Um, I think a little bit. It was a quiet statement of, ‘We’re here.’ Last year, it was so close. We tied with two other teams, I think it was. This year we came in and took it away. Everybody played really well in that tournament.”
Q: How did you feel about how you played personally?
ELLIS: “I think there’s always room for improvement, but I think I did OK for my first outing.”
Q: Being the No. 1 singles player is always tough. A lot of times you go into a match knowing your team is going to win easily, but the other team has that one girl in the school who’s awesome. That happens a lot in high school tennis. Is that frustrating for you?
ELLIS: “Not really. It happens. We win as a team, and honestly, the team comes first.”
Q: You have the Jeffersonville Invitational coming up next week. How important are those big tournaments to you and your team’s development?
ELLIS: “I think they’re really good for us. We won’t play those teams, or see that type of competition, again in the regular season. It’s a different way of play, so it will be nice to go in there and see what we can do.”
Q: You were part of a basketball team that won three sectional championships in four years. How special was this season compared to the other two?
ELLIS: “I loved this year. This year was by far my favorite sectional. I loved the other ones, but I think [it was the most special] since it was my senior year, my last year. Our team became so close. We had so many younger players come up and help and it was great. I loved it this year.”