SUWANEE — As North Gwinnett’s No. 1 singles player the last two seasons, Cassidy Rebol knows all about dealing with pressure on the court.
However, given her family history, one might think the Bulldogs senior might think the most pressure she’s faced in earning the Daily Post’s Girls Tennis Player of the Year honors for the second straight year might come from that which she puts on herself.
But despite following in the footsteps of her father John, a former college player at West Virginia and Western Kentucky, sister Amanda, the winningest singles player in N.C. State history, and brother Max, currently playing at Samford, Rebol says she never felt any pressure to live up to the family’s on-court success.
“There really wasn’t (any pressure),” Rebol said. “I mean, kind of, but at the same time it was encouraging that I had them to look up to. I wasn’t really stressed out (feeling that), ‘Oh, I need to be just as good as them.’ It was like, I just looked up to them, and they encouraged me to play tennis. It was never pressure.”
If there was any pressure, she dealt with it impeccably based on her results, which included a 13-3 record this spring, which brought her career varsity record at North to 25-4.
Rebol also says she never felt any pressure in living up to her own success from the tournament circuit when playing high school tennis.
Possessing a No. 9 Universal Tennis Ranking, she would make a tempting target for any upset-minded opponent, though she said she never let that possibility enter her mind much whenever she took the court.
“A little bit, but I’ve never made any enemies,” Rebol said with a laugh when asked about facing any opponents she met during the year-round tournament circuit. “It was just kind of fun to see the tournament players when I would come to high school. I didn’t know if I was going to see them again, so it was good.”
That ability to not be flustered by any sort of internal pressure is something first-year North coach Katie Massey valued about Rebol.
“She can definitely keep her head focused, but also, you can’t look at her and tell whether she’s winning or losing,” Massey said. “You really can’t. It’s just amazing she is a second-generation player and plays so well, even (being) the youngest in her family, … and can continuously maintain that.
“She just plays her game and goes out and does her thing. It was awesome that she has such a complete game. It just works. She has a very beautiful, very natural stroke. Just with her calm presence and her great stroke, she is a really great problem solver, as well. So even if she is down, she’s able to stay calm enough and problem solve her way out of it. “
However, what she valued most of all about her No. 1 singles players is how she interacted with her teammates.
“She is great in that she’s always very relaxed, never worried and likes to have fun and cut up with her teammates and keep everybody in a good mood and is very silly,” Massey said. “:So she’s a delight to have around the court, so I’m sure she’s going to do well with the college experience because it’s like high school, just dialed up as far as intensity and time together with your teammates.
“The camaraderie and the the fun she brought to the team, as well as the fact she is a phenomenal tennis player, established the central component, the laughs she brought to the team.”
Indeed, that camaraderie among not only her teammates, but also Massey, who served as an assistant for the Bulldogs before succeeding retired coach Forrest Wood this spring, and her staff is something that Rebol says she enjoyed not only this season, but throughout her entire career at North.
“Honestly, I love the girls,” Rebol said. “I’ve gotten so close to the girls, and the coaches have been amazing. We had (former) Coach (Forrest) Wood, and then this year, Coach Massey. It’s just amazing.”
So what lies in the future for Rebol? Well, she is definitely planning to follow the family tradition of playing tennis in college, and currently has two unspecified opportunities to do so that she’s still exploring.
However, tennis is far from the only thing she is looking forward to when she heads off to college.
“It’ll probably be the end for (competitive) tennis for me after college,” Rebol said “I’m excited for the more competitive team aspect (in college tennis). There were times when (high school) was very competitive, but I’m just looking forward to improving and I guess figuring out life stuff in college.”