Alexa DiCesare-Reaches Top Rung of NHS Tennis Ladder

Christopher Tremblay
Issue Date: 
July, 2018
Article Body: 

Upon entering high school, Norwood’s Alex DiCesare had only played tennis for fun with her father and attended a few tennis camps. When spring rolled around, she found herself looking for a sport to get involved in, but nothing really interested her……and along came tennis.
The freshman, who had only primarily played for fun, decided to try out for the high school team, and although intimidated, she still managed to earn a spot on Coach Carl Briggs’ team.
“As a freshman walking into tryouts I was nervous, especially with all the older girls looking at you funny,” DiCesare said. “Once I got to know everyone on the team, things were fine.”
As a first year player on the varsity level, DiCesare played wherever Briggs needed her. As a freshman, she began playing some third singles and doubles, but originally the Coach saw her as a singles player.
“She was a starter right from the beginning,” Briggs said. “Every year since then she moved up the ladder to where she is playing first singles for us this year.”
As a junior playing in the second singles position, DiCesare looked up to then number one player Ioana Strocia.
“She had a very accurate shot and was fun to watch,” the senior racqueteer said. “She was hitting corners like it was nothing and scoring, so I decided to give it a try. I also found that watching the way my opponent’s returned the ball back to me would also help. After the match, I would analyze what had taken place in my match and start practicing.”
Working her way up the singles ladder, this senior player believes that she earned her spot to play first single for the Mustangs.
“I knew that it was going to be more competitive playing at first singles, but I had earned that position,” Di Cesare said. “Going into the match I was not thinking about how good my opponent was. I just hyped myself up to go play a good game, and as the match went along I just adapted to my competition.”
Over the four years on the tennis court, Coach Briggs had seen an improvement in DiCesare’s game.
“Playing this year as our number one singles player she had to face the best players and she never looked out of place doing so,” Briggs said. “While she may not have won a lot, she was in every one of her matches all season long.”
As a team captain, the senior wanted to bring the team closer together and did a lot of bonding outside of the courts.
“I wanted the freshmen not to be scared like I was my first year,” DiCesare said. “I didn’t want anyone to be left out, and a tennis team is a much smaller group so it was easier to get us all together to do something.”
Briggs likes the senior captain’s attitude and commitment despite working a job during the season.
“Throughout the year, not only has Alexa steadily improved her game, she also helped the other players,” Briggs said. “The younger girls really looked up to her. Although she had a job, she was fully committed to the team and her teammates. She was not only a great leader, she was very helpful to me and she will be missed.”
While going to school and participating in tennis practices and matches during the week, DiCesare found herself working on the weekends, which wasn’t the best scenario, but as she said ‘she just had to suck it up.’
While the job on the weekend allowed her to begin saving for college, the hard work on the court got her noticed. In late April, she received a call from the tennis coach at Roger Williams University to let her know that there was a spot for her on the team.
“That call was amazing and I told the coach that I’d play anywhere that he wanted or needed me to play, DiCesare said. “As long as I was playing I didn’t care.”
As she leaves Norwood High School to begin the next chapter in her life, DiCesare is glad that she was not only able to play tennis for the Mustangs, but give everything that she had 100 % off the time.