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Lady ‘Jacket tennis loses to Bolivar but wins over Rolla

The lady ‘Jacket tennis team lost a 4-5 squeaker to the Bolivar Liberators Sept. 12. “We lost a close one. I was proud of the effort, but we have to finish better. We are doing a great job of putting ourselves in a great position to win, and we have to close those matches out,” coach Ron Crowell said. He highlighted some standout players. “Olivia McGruder was dominant again in singles. Destiney Stokes was also outstanding in singles, and Olivia and Destiney were outstanding in doubles. Carly Miller was impressive in singles, and she remains unbeaten in singles play this season,” he said. Addison Stark played a hard-fought and won doubles match with her partner Ray Guccione. “There was some battling going on. The teams were almost like the same level, so it was kind of difficult, but we wound up winning. We worked together. This is my first year playing, and I’m enjoying it,” Stark said. There are a number of elements in tennis that make it different from other sports. For example, the players are also the officials. “Tennis is kind of a unique sport. You’ve got to officiate yourself, you’ve got to keep score and you’ve got to be able to handle the emotions and the mental part of it as well, so it makes it a really interesting sport,” Crowell said. Stark said it is a system that works on a cooperative level. “It depends on both teams, and if the ball gets into the box, they can say if it’s in or not. We can go to an agreement, or we can just redo it. It just depends. If it’s on the line, we count it as in, but if it’s out, and I didn’t see that it was out, we would just redo it and just go again. That’s the best way to agree,” Stark said. Having a front person is helpful. “That’s why we have a front person because the person in the front can like watch the box and see if they’re actually telling the truth or not, so that does help with seeing if it’s in or not,” she said. Crowell said, “The kids really do a pretty good job. The problems that they have are very rare. The kids have a way to get help if things aren’t going right, and coaches can go out there and help and things like that. Most of the kids do a great job because their integrity, their character is a big deal to them. Nobody wants to have that bad reputation. They want to win, but they want to do it the right way. These girls do a fantastic job of that.” There is a very positive consequence. “Teams enjoy playing us even when we smoke them. Our girls enjoy playing the right way,” he said. Even the coaching aspect is unique. “We can’t stop and have a big pow-wow. On the changeover, I can meet with them. There’s supposed to be 90 seconds on the changeover. I can talk to them then,” Crowell said. Crowell also coaches boys basketball. “It’s a different mindset from basketball. In basketball, you can make substitutions, you can adjust your defense, you can adjust something you’re doing on offense. You can make some minor adjustments in tennis, but a lot of tennis is just mental so really just working on that mental aspect. You can’t really call a time out. You can’t really take a kid out, have him come down and sit down by you, let them refocus and then get them back in. They’ve got to do it on the fly, and that makes it tough,” Crowell said. The team’s record stood at 5-3 before the Rolla match. Thanks to a 8-1 victory over Rolla Thursday, their record improved to 6-3. “The kids played well, and I was very proud of them. Rolla is a tough place to play. Olivia and Destiney were outstanding again in doubles, and they improved to 9-1 on the season. Carly and Brooklyn also dominated 8-1,” Crowell said. Other players stood at to Crowell as well. “Kelsey Daugherty continues to impress as she won 8-2. Bailey Lowrance also played extremely well in singles winning 8-5. Carly Miller win again improving her singles record to 9-0. Olivia, Destiney and Brooklyn were also outstanding. It was a solid team win,” he said.