When she started playing, Olivia Parzick also started learning about the Bow High tennis tradition. At age 8 she began taking lessons with Alan Chandronnait, whose daughter Amber won singles and team titles for the Falcons in 2004 and ‘06. At the Chandronnait Tennis Academy, Parzick hit with Sunday Swett, the 2013 girls’ singles champion and a two-time team champ for Bow.
With those two as role models, Parzick was already eager to join the Falcons as a middle schooler. When Bow won another title in 2017, the eagerness only increased.
“I always dreamt of being on the team,” Parzick said. “I knew there were always awesome players on the team, and when I was in eighth grade they won a championship, and I was just so excited to possibly be a part of that.”
She did just that last year, playing No. 3 for a Bow team that won a second-straight Division III title and pushed its winning streak to 35 straight in the process. This year, the Falcons moved up to D-II and Parzick moved up to No. 1 on the team’s ladder. It was a big leap for both, but they handled it well as Parzick and the Falcons won their first 16 matches this spring before falling to Portsmouth in the D-II final, 6-3.
“It was definitely nerve-wracking playing number one, especially since last year in D-III I was playing number three, but I was also super excited because I knew there would be a lot of girls that would be tough, that would be a real challenge for me,” Parzick said. “I was excited to go into every match and I always had a positive mindset and I was always thinking, I can win this and I will win this. Having that positive mindset really helped me throughout the season and I definitely felt like I got better this year.”
Parzick didn’t have Bow’s best singles record, but she was the team’s only year-round player and the clear No. 1. Having her at the top of the ladder allowed the rest of the Falcons to play a slot lower and pile up win after win.
“She was absolutely critical to our success,” Bow coach Jonsey Rainville said. “And the girls looked to her to improve their game in terms of technique and just overall tennis ability. They admired and looked up to her that way.”
It’s easy to admire Parzick’s technique. She has the fluid, balanced and powerful strokes Alan Chandronnait has been teaching to local tennis players for decades. Last year, those strokes didn’t always lead to consistent points. This year, Parzick found that consistency.
“From last year to this year there was a bit more mental and physical maturity, overall, and her shot selection improved since last year,” Rainville said.
Parzick didn’t earn one of the eight seeds in this year’s singles tournament and wound up with a tough draw, facing No. 2 Amy Maalouf in the first round. Maalouf, a 2018 doubles champion and singles semifinalist, won the match, 8-3, but Rainville believes it Parzick has what it takes to become one of those top seeds that no one else wants to draw in the first round.
“I think this year she can match anyone in the state shot for shot,” Rainville said. “Now it’s just developing that sense of when to be a little more patient and when to execute the big shot as the only things that I see from her overtaking everyone in the state.”
While Parzick wants more individual success in the future, she understood her role on this year’s team and was able to bask in the team’s success even on days when she didn’t win.
“My favorite moment of the high school season was beating Portsmouth in the regular season because it was senior night and our last regular season match, and we were so nervous. I think that was definitely a highlight for me and the team,” Parzick said. “I didn’t win that day, but I felt like I won because we were all so excited to win the match.”
That kind of shared joy was pretty common for these Falcons.
“It was such a cohesive group and so very supportive of each other,” Rainville said. “We had great senior leadership which I really think was a good example for all of our younger players, including Olivia, and I think she will be a great senior leader when it’s her time.”
As soon as the high school season ended, Parzick upped her USTA tournament schedule and her court time with her mother, Stephanie Parzick, a competitive player who inspired her daughter to play in the first place. Olivia will keep taking lessons with Chandronnait throughout the offseason and this summer she will also be helping to give lessons at the Goffstown YMCA.
“A lot of tennis this summer,” Parzick said. “I love it, so I just work hard at it to be the best I can be.”
(Tim O’Sullivan can be reached at 369-3341 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @timosullivan20)