The Hickman girls tennis team defeated Tolton 8-1 Monday afternoon at Cosmo Park. The Kewpies swept the doubles matches 3-0 and lost one singles match.
While the 90 degree heat was a major factor in the match, coach Jaime Vargas said wind played a larger role. Tolton coach Pablo Araujo added that early in the season, heat is always a factor.
The Kewpies got off to a hot start winning all three doubles matches handily 8-1, 8-1 and 8-4. Vargas said he is a big doubles tactician and tried to pair players that had good chemistry with each other — one reason why his team had success in doubles.
Hickman won five singles matches with wins from Mirra Manolov, Christina Hua, Jamie Barta, Grace Urban and Kaitlyn Hartnagel.
Manolov stood out for the Kewpies, who in her three singles matches this season has gone 8-0, 8-0 and 6-0, 6-0. The freshman earned the No. 1 singles spot and received high praise from her coach . Vargas describes her as a strong player with good knowledge of the game and quality communication skills.
“She’s so used to high-level tennis that she’s executing well and she’s coachable,” Vargas said. “That’s the biggest thing.She will do anything.”
The only match Tolton won on the day was by Sarah Kiefer — their No. 6 singles player.
Araujo said his team still needs to work on fitness and conditioning to improve their play. He added that Hickman is a tough opponent and it’s hard to truly evaluate his team’s performance this early in the season.
“We’ll play Mexico later this week,” Araujo said. “We have a match in St. Louis, so after this week I’ll have a better idea if we’ll have a good season.”
Next up for Hickman is a match against the Rolla Bulldogs at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in Rolla, while Tolton’s next match will be at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at home against the Mexico Bulldogs.
Supervising editor is Seth Bodine.