Hickman tennis coach Jerry Price has been preaching improvement all season. On Monday, the Kewpies provided some tangible evidence of their development.
The Kewpies lost 5-4 in a competitive match against Jefferson City at Hickman courts, two weeks after losing an 8-1 road match to the Jays.
Price, who called the match winnable, offered reserved praise for his team.
“I’m happy with the improvement that the team’s showing, I’m happy with the excitement and enthusiasm that they’re experiencing, certainly I would have been most happy with a win,” Price said.
Jefferson City featured a less potent lineup, as No. 1 player Jennifer Engelhardt sat out of singles, opening the door for Hickman with each Jay playing up a flight. Despite the outcome, several Kewpies capitalized.
Hickman (3-7) took two of three doubles matches, and Katie Glenn defeated Rachel Hazelwood 6-3, 6-0 at No. 1 singles.
The team’s only other singles victory came at No. 3, where Amy Trae held off Jefferson City’s Leslie Farmer 7-5 in the first set before cruising 6-1 in the second.
Trae, a senior, said the outcome showed Hickman is getting better.
“We definitely improved,” Trae said. “I think the different lineup also helped us win some more games, but we wanted to go out there and win those games.”
Trae played in the closest match of the day at No. 1 doubles.
Trae and Kirsten Seaberg took the first set against Engelhardt and Farmer, 6-3. Trailing 2-5 in the second, the Hickman pair rallied to tie the set at five, before losing the last two games to drop the set, 5-7.
They again fell behind in the tiebreaker, but won three consecutive points to tie it at five. The two teams went back and forth for the next four points to tie again at seven, when Trae and Seaberg put away the match, 10-7, with three straight points.
“I’m very happy,” Trae said. “We didn’t want to have to do the tiebreaker, but we had to, and we were down but were able to bring it up and win the match.”
Price said: “They both stepped up and had some spectacular moments, and I really am happy for them.”
Glenn and No. 2 player Carrie Ingersoll won against Hazelwood and Jays No. 2 Shelby Penno 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) at No. 2 doubles.
Price pointed to Hickman’s efforts at doubles after the dual had been decided as proof of a better outlook from his team.
“I think that we believed in ourselves a little bit more and in tennis, attitude and competitive spirit is extremely important… and I think it translated into better play for them.”