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Lady Pack rackets slip to Paoli, 2-3

April 14, 2010
Last year, the majority of the Crawford County girls' tennis team's contests came down to a single match. That trend has continued this year as the Lady Pack came up just short to visiting Paoli in their first outing of the season last Tuesday.

"We had some real close ones last year," Crawford County coach Jerry Hodge said. "There were several in it right to the end and got beat 2-3. Just like today, this one could have gone either way. We had a good opportunity to win this today, but, as it is, we got beat, 2-3."

Both Kaelin Baize (with sunglasses) and Jessa Ward have their eye on this shot by Paoli, but the ball gets by both. Paoli’s Day Thorlton and Shelby Litsey went on to win in two sets. Photo by Wade Bell
Not only were the two teams battling each other but also Mother Nature, who was kicking up wind gusts of near 30 miles per hour at times. That made adjusting shot speed nearly impossible.

"The wind was a huge factor today," Kaelin Baize, Crawford County' only senior, said. "If you were with the wind, you had to alter your serving, which was really confusing. We just practiced a regular serve, and you can't really practice with the wind. … Then, we'd have to use extra power and more top spin when we were receiving against the wind. So, it definitely affected us today."

"You have to be paying attention to all the weather factors," Hodge said. "When the wind's behind your back, you're not going to be able to hit the ball very hard. When the wind's in your face, you have to put a little more into it. Then, when you get crosswinds, it makes it difficult serving. That's part of the game."

Paoli's No. 1 singles player, Kyanna Moon, made quick work of Crawford County's Savanna Beechler with a 6-0, 6-0 win. Hodge said Moon is one of the best players in the Patoka Lake Athletic Conference.

"She's very good," he said. "She's been their No. 1, I know, the third year, with maybe even a fourth year."

Crawford County's Becca Koopman disposed of Jennifer Lundgren in the No. 2 singles round, 6-2, 6-4. Lindsey Bullington gave Lady Ram Tessa England all she could handle in a three-set round, but England came out on top, 5-7, 6-2, 10-7.

"Very athletic," Hodge said of Bullington. "That's what keeps her in the match, her athleticism. On that first set, as long as she cannot let it get in her head, she's got the ability to win a match."

Baize and her No. 1 doubles partner, Jessa Ward, struggled through their first set against Day Thorlton and Shelby Litsey in a 0-6 loss. The Crawford County pair had a better second set but lost in a 5-7 decision.

"Jessa and I really haven't been playing a lot together at practice," Baize said. "This is only the third time we've played actually all season. We've practiced twice with each other. So, the first set was basically a practice set for us. The second set is when we started getting in the hang of things. We were communicating a lot better. Then, we started getting used to the wind and figuring out how to look at their signals. That's when we started getting into the flow of things. Unfortunately, we didn't catch them in time."

"They played very respectable," Hodge said of his doubles pair. "They dropped the first one really quick, but they came back, broke it down and played a lot harder."

Crawford County's Violet Lumley and Jessica Duarte went the distance against Nicole Bridgewater and Jaclyn Thomas to earn a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win in No. 2 doubles play. By that time, however, Paoli had the team win in a 3-2 decision.

"The No. 2 doubles played real well," Hodge said. "They hung in there till they won. … Paoli is normally a pretty good tennis team. They're going to get some wins this year. Some of those close ones we had last year we can turn around this year."

Hodge said tennis is just as much a mental sport as it is a physical game. The Crawford County coach said changing conditions, as well as other factors, can quickly alter the entire complexity of the game.

"Tennis, a lot of it is in your head and is also played with your feet," he said. "You've got to get to the ball before you hit it. I'm trying to teach the girls to pick up their feet and get to the ball and keep their eye on the ball to hit it. It's just like hitting a golf ball. You take your eye off the golf ball and you miss it. In tennis, you take your eye off the ball and you rim it in a lot of cases. "

Hodge, however, said that his young team does have some potential to create some surprises down the road.

"We have a lot of young players," the Crawford County coach said. "We've got a really good sophomore class. Most of the girls we were playing today were sophomores. They've got two more years, so that should help us out."

Paoli 3, Crawford County 2

No. 1 Singles - Kyanna Moon (P) def. Savanna Beechler, 6-0, 6-0

No. 2 Singles - Becca Koopman (CC) def. Jennifer Lundgren, 6-2, 6-4

No. 3 Singles - Tessa England (P) def. Lindsey Bullington, 5-7, 6-2, 10-7

No. 1 Doubles - Day Thorlton and Shelby Litsey (P) def. Kaelin Baize and Jessa Ward, 6-0, 7-5

No. 2 Doubles - Violet Lumley and Jessica Duarte (CC) def. Nicole Bridgewater and Jaclyn Thomas, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4

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