Sisters Gabrielle and Ansofi Wreder are no strangers to each other’s game. They’ve practiced against each other virtually every day for the past decade.
But Friday afternoon Gabrielle, a senior at Killian, and Ansofi, a freshman at Coral Reef, squared off in an official match for the first time, playing the No. 1 singles match between the district foes at Ron Ehmann Park.
As expected, the older sister Gabrielle got the best of Ansofi, winning the match 8-6, but Ansofi held her own.
“[Ansofi] played good today, and I wasn’t playing super well,” Gabrielle said. “I was playing defensive because I had the pressure [on me].”
The pressure she refers to, of course, is the potential embarrassment of losing to her freshman little sister — a rare occurrence that the two say happens “two out of every 100” matches.
Ansofi, following her own scouting report she’s developed on Gabrielle over the years, quietly played a decent match anticipating where her sister would hit the ball on several occasions. Gabrielle would let out tumultuous shouts of frustration after unforced errors but was able to maintain her focus and let her power game prevail.
“We probably expected it to be a little more lopsided than that, but Ansofi has really been picking up her game lately,” said Karen Wreder, mother of the two sisters who, along with husband Kent, has committed countless hours to taking the two to practices and tournaments over the years. “We have been trying to get Gabrielle at this point, since she has gotten herself to a level, to give back a little bit and help her sister bring her level up.”
Ansofi agrees that her experiences getting beat by big sister have made her a better player, worthy of playing the No. 1 singles spot for the Barracudas as a freshman.
“[Gabrielle] hits hard, so it makes me hit harder,” Ansofi says. “It gives me good competition so when I get to tournaments I know how to play people that hit hard like her.”
Upon graduation from Killian, Gabrielle will be on her way to Appalachian State with a full-ride scholarship. The Mountaineers’ program is ranked nationally (No. 65 ITA) for the first time in its history this season.
“I’m really excited,” Gabrielle says. “It was a tough decision. I had a couple of schools that I was looking at, but I’m really excited to go with [women’s tennis coach Colin Crothers]. He seems really nice, and all the girls on the team are really nice and all close.”
The family has always hoped that both could earn a college scholarship through tennis. Gabrielle has already achieved it; Ansofi appears to be well on her way.