MCI senior exchange student leading the way on the tennis courts

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PITTSFIELD – 2022 has been quite the season for Maine Central Institute’s girls’ tennis team.

The Huskies sit at 11-1, and leading the way has been senior Lidia Gomez, a foreign exchange student from Spain.

“It’s been a really great year for MCI tennis,” said head coach John Buys. “A lot of it has started with her expertise and the power she brings.”

“She’s kind of a model for all of us,” said senior Leah Dechaine. “She’s just so incredible.”

Gomez is in her second year with the program, and as of Monday, she is the MPA girls singles champion. She beat Brunswick’s Coco Meserve in the finals, in what she calls one of the best matches she’s played in Maine.

“She was really good,” Gomez said. “She’s really smart, she’s got a really good serve. We were at the same level.”

“We’re all watching the fuzz fly off the tennis balls behind their rackets,” Buys said. “It was like, this is amazing. They were both playing at such a great level.”

Buys says Lidia was already pretty experienced as a tennis player coming into MCI. But, throughout the past two years, he has seen her grow both as a teammate and a student.

“During her time at MCI we’ve seen her embracing the culture at the school, getting involved,” he said.

“Mostly, what I like here is the people,” Gomez said. “When we go to play teams, we are all together. We help each other.”

Her presence with the Huskies, even just in practice, is definitely rubbing off.

“Playing against her, she goes easy on us,” Dechaine said. “But, it’s really great playing someone so good because it really prepares us for our competition.”

Even if you’re not playing against her, just being a spectator has helped some huskies improve her games.

“Going against her helps us improve playing with speed,” said sophomore Olivia Varney. “Watching her play has helped us learn about the sport so much, and gain so much experience.”

Right now, with playoffs around the corner, they are all looking forward to seeing what the rest of the season has in store.

“We’re super proud of her, and we’re super excited to see what’s coming up for the rest of the season,” Buys said.

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Natasha M. McKnight

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