By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Take the word "enthusiastic," make it an adverb, grab a thesaurus, and find a number of ways to characterize how Katie Brozovich plays tennis.
Her energy and spirit show through in how she puts her body into every shot. And they come out when she’s frustrated with herself and fires up an impromptu personal pep talk on the court.
“When I’m frustrated, I’m not the one to hold it in. I have to say something,” Brozovich said. “I’m not saying things critically. I’m just working on not bringing myself down.
“I get a lot of people (looking like), ‘What are you doing?’”
The answer: Winning every match.
Brozovich, in her first season at No. 1 singles after dominating lower flights, is 15-0 atop the lineup for the reigning Division 1 champion Wolves.
She gets a Second Half High 5 this week for winning her flight at the Holly Red and White Invitational, beating Port Huron Northern’s Taylor Sweeney 6-4, 6-1 in the championship match. Clarkston, ranked No. 4 in the state coaches poll, tied Division 2 No. 1 Birmingham Marian for the team championship – ahead of Division 1 top-ranked Port Huron Northern, No. 7 Ann Arbor Huron and No. 8 Midland Dow.
Sweeney advanced to last season’s MHSAA Quarterfinals at No. 1. But Brozovich is plenty used to top competition – and fully embracing the opportunity to finish her high school career playing against the best.
She’s been in Clarkston’s singles lineup all four years of high school – she played No. 3 as a freshman, before finishing MHSAA runner-up at No. 2 as a sophomore and then winning the No. 3 championship last spring.
“Each year I was happy with the spot I was playing. But I thought it was a better opportunity to play (No.) 1 because of the big competition,” Brozovich said. “That what I like. I felt good, and I prepared myself for it.”
The Clarkston singles lineup was set to be loaded again this spring with No. 1 Semifinalist Gabriella Spindler a senior and reigning No. 2 champion Lexi Baylis also expected back. But Spindler opted to not play this spring, and Brozovich and Baylis battled through two three-set challenge matches to determine who would fill the top spot.
“Katie is a beast. She wanted that number one spot, and being her senior year, she was not going to take anything less,” Clarkston coach Becky Freeman said. “This year, being a senior, she knows what we’re looking for. She’s seen it all – the good, bad and ugly.”
Brozovich has signed with Bowling Green, a regular contender in the Mid-American Conference, and expects to be part of the lineup as a freshman. Her aunt, Sue (Brozovich) Kaleel, was a four-time champion at Miami (Ohio). Click to read more about Brozovich's family connections, dream matchup and future endeavors.
PHOTO: Clarkston's Katie Brozovich prepares to return a shot during her No. 3 singles match at last season's MHSAA Division 1 Final.
Be The Referee is a series of short messages designed to help educate people on the rules of different sports, to help them better understand the art of officiating, and to recruit officials.
Below is this week's segment – Tennis Spin - Listen
Today’s "You Make the Call" takes us to the tennis court.
We’re in the middle of a volley when I hit a shot with a ton of spin on it. It goes over the net, bounces and then spins back over the net towards me, without being hit by my opponent.
What’s the call?
My opponent never hit the ball, so I win the point. The same rule applies if it’s wind, not spin, blowing the ball back over the net.
My opponent could have returned my shot, even if they had to reach over the net to do so, as long as they didn’t touch the net while returning. If my opponent hits the net in the process of returning my shot, it’s also my point.
Oct. 10: Blocked Kick - Listen
Oct. 3: Volleyball Double & Lift - Listen
Sept. 26: Registration Process - Listen
Sept. 20: Animal Interference - Listen
Sept. 13: Feet Rule on Soccer Throw-In - Listen
Sept. 6: Volleyball Jewelry - Listen
Aug. 30: Football Rules Similarities - Listen
Aug. 23: Football Rules Differences - Listen