Hodge kept perspective amid a tough season
Leah Hodge knew it would be a different season for her and her team this past fall.
The senior, who recently ended her season with the Northampton girls' tennis program, vaulted into the team's number one singles position this past fall after playing doubles and singles last season. Her team took on a different look than the one it had posted as a Lehigh Valley Conference contender the past two seasons.
The K-Kids' squad was severely depleted due to graduation losses, and a transition year was truly in the offing this fall.
"I thought we would be fine as a team with a different situation," said Hodge. "We all didn't expect us to be as good as we were the past two seasons and we weren't. We had a number of younger players on the team and we knew this would take some time."
Individually, Hodge's record hovered around the .500 mark most of the season as she gradually became accustomed to her new surroundings.
"I learned some hard lessons this year," admitted Hodge. "There were a lot of changes going up against the top player from each team. I really had to work as a hard as I could and I needed to stay in good shape.
"But I definitely liked playing singles instead of doubles, and I'm not disappointed with the outcome."
Head coach Eileen Carbone appreciated her efforts in a quick transition.
"Leah had to work hard to make the change," said Carbone. "She knew she would have her hands full at the start, but she worked to improve her game during the season."
It truly was a big shift for Hodge, who only began playing competitive tennis during her freshman year. She did get a boost, however, playing with her older sister, Brittany, who graduated from the Kids' program two years ago and played one season at Moravian College. The older Hodge sister is pursuing a nursing degree at Moravian.
"I never took any lessons," she said. "When I was a freshman, Brittany (Hodge) was a junior. It was cool to play with my sister on the same team. When I became a junior, I started playing some singles' matches.
"Brittany has always been very supportive and she has been an inspiration to me."
After graduation, Hodge plans to attend Northampton Community College, where she plans to either pursue a career in either dental hygiene or funeral service. She also has entertained the thought of playing tennis there.
"I have always thought about being a dental hygienist, but the funeral service interests me," said Hodge. "I would like to work on the hair and makeup of a person in funeral service. But I really have to see if I like it.
"I'll probably lean toward becoming a dental hygienist and maybe play tennis. Whatever happens, I'm looking forward to a new challenge."
It will be another year and another challenge for Hodge next fall.