By Steven Kochersperger
The Mount Vernon girls’ tennis team is back in action and have started off their year in great fashion. The long awaited season has begun and the girls took on and beat both of their first two visiting opponents, Gibson Southern and North Posey. The team beat both opponents by a score of 3-2 and started off the year with a 2-0 team record. The team then traveled to Jasper dropping their first road trip 5-0 up north.
The Wildcats return a great core of varsity players from last year’s team and it all begins with number one singles player Claire Schroeder. Schroeder beat her Gibson Southern opponent Haley Decker 7-6,7-6 and then later in the week beat North Posey’s Shelby Ackerman 6-1,6-3. Schroeder’s great play at the number one position will be vital to the success of the Wildcat team this season.
In the number two tennis slot for the Wildcats is junior Sara O’Neil. O’Neil started the week by beating Titan Taryn Goede 6-7, 6-4, 6-2 and then Viking Brianna Brown 6-4, 6-3. . In the three slot for the Wildcats is returning junior Hayley Salaman. Salaman had a little bit of a bumpy week as she defeated her titan opponent 6-0, 6-4 before falling to North Posey’s Carol Santos 2-6, 6-2, 7-6.
All together the Wildcats have five returning varsity letter winners that create a great core group this season. The team also has three new players, Freshman Megan McCarty, Senior Devon Allyn, and junior Riley Keating that are competing this season on the varsity level. Among those returners are juniors Zoe Burkhart and Livia Hopper who are playing together in number one doubles this year.
Burkhart and Hopper are working hard this season and will see many doubles opponents that will test them. Already this early tennis season they have been tested as they have lost both matches so far to the Titans and the Vikings.
The other doubles pair will be a mix, and has been early on, of varsity players. Against Gibson Southern on Tuesday the Wildcats had newcomers Riley Keating and Megan McCarty playing in the number two doubles slot. Keating and McCarty gave it a good fight but ended up losing 6-2, 6-3. A few days later against North Posey Vikings attatined the win at that slot as the Wildcats try to figure out who to play in the second doubles hole.
Altogether the Wildcats look to be a team that could be a tough opponent for many teams on their schedule and in the Big Eight Conference. Coach Steve Schroeder says that the team is trying to improve every single practice even though the cold weather has forced them this season to lose some practices and make it harder on other practices to prepare. The team hopes to gain more confidence each match they play and hopes to also make noise in the conference as well as the sectional this season.
By Steven Kochersperger
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