Hope Van der Riet has emerged as a leader for the Foundation Academy girls tennis team.
As a sophomore at Foundation Academy, Hope Van der Riet plays on Line 2 in singles and doubles play for the Lions girls tennis team. Although she describes herself as being not competitive, her passion for the sport on and off the court have led to her being a leader on the team.
How did you first get into playing tennis?
I think two-and-a-half years ago, and my cousin played. My cousin is my best friend, so I started playing, and now here I am.
What has kept you in the sport the last few years?
I play with my granddad and my cousin, and they lived in Virginia and so they moved down to Florida. We go to different schools, so that’s how we would hang out — because we would be coached together — and so now we are the same skill level, so we play each other a lot. She gets better, then I have to get better, you know? And so now I’m motivated to get better, because she plays at her school and I play at mine — she plays at West Orange.
You started at Foundation last year, which also was the first year the school offered tennis. What’s that like to be a part of a young program?
It was pretty cool. It was a little disorganized at first, and there were a lot of us — there were a couple of people who were pretty good, and a lot of people who were like, ‘Oh tennis, sounds cool.’ But then, once we started getting into matches, it got more organized and stuff. Honestly, the biggest thing was I got to meet a lot of people — I made friends with a lot of people (who) I wouldn’t have been friends with.
What has been your favorite thing about playing tennis at Foundation?
I love playing tennis — it’s just so much fun for me. I’m not particularly competitive — it’s kind of just like, ‘Woo, yay’ — but a couple of my good friends that I’ve been friends with before playing tennis are on the team, too, so that’s kind of cool. Last year, I was OK, but I lost a lot of my matches. This year, we are on a winning streak right now — it’s cool to see the improvement from last year to this year.
Coming into this season, did you have any goals in mind that you — or the team — wanted to accomplish?
When we’re in the offseason, it’s off and on — sometimes we play, sometimes we don’t really play — so kind of getting back into it and now I want to see, especially from last year, the comparisons. Last year, especially the first couple of games, we were not very good. But this year, we have played three games so far (as the girls team) and we have won all of them. Last year at districts, we did so badly, but seeing where we get there this year, and I already feel like our team is doing better.
Do you prefer doubles or singles play?
I love being at the net and playing doubles, because I’m really tall — I’m six feet — so whenever I’m at doubles, I don’t have to worry about the ball going past me because there is someone back there that can hit it. In singles, if I go to the net, I’m not confident, because they lob it over me, then I miss.
The Observer has invested in new technology, so you can enjoy a more personalized online experience. By creating a user profile on OrangeObserver.com, you can manage settings, customize content, enter contests and more, all while continuing to enjoy all the local news you care about — Click Here it's FREE.