Ending a string of tough scheduling, the Cheney girls’ tennis team is coming off a few close losses. But, easier opportunities are right around the corner.
Losses to Pullman, East Valley, Colville and West Valley left a sting, but the team has played well throughout, head coach Jason Overland said.
“I am very happy with how the girls played against Pullman,” he said.
Although losing 6-1 against Pullman, the team was able to rebound two days later against East Valley, falling only by 4-3.
After that match, Overland said the girls were starting to gain more confidence. The most important lesson at the end of the day, however, is what’s learned when walking away from the court, he added.
Last week, the team was unable to gain much ground against Colville in their April 16 match, losing 6-1. The lone winning sets were from the No. 1 doubles team of Liz Gill and Rebecca Reinecke, who handily defeated their opponents 6-3 and 6-1.
“Liz and Rebecca played very, very well,” Overland said.
The next day, however, proved to be a complete turnaround, with the team shutting down North Central 7-0 in a sweep. Overland said that, while the final score didn’t reflect it, each set was a battle and much closer than what the results indicated.
“It was a great morale booster for the girls. They really needed a victory like that where from start to finish, the majority of their games they controlled,” he said. “The result was based on what they did.”
No. 1 singles’ Katelynn Smedley won both of her sets 6-0 and 6-0 in what was, statistically, the most dominating part to the day.
“One thing I told the girls while they were playing is we can’t look at the scores. We have to look at what we did to achieve those scores,” Overland said.
Everyone executed their play well in the game, making it a nice outing compared to the previous day.
Earlier this season, Cheney was unable to overcome West Valley, losing by a score of 4-3. Although both teams are much different from their first encounter, last week’s second matchup resulted in the same score.
Smedley was once again on top of the standings, with Cheney’s No. 4 singles’ Grace Pohl right behind at 0-6, 6-3 and 6-4 for the day. Overland remarked that West Valley’s coach said Smedley looked nothing like the player they saw earlier this season.
“She’s a completely different player this time around,” he said.
The lone doubles win came from Liz Gill and Rebecca Stevens who defeated their opponents 7-5 and 6-4.
While Cheney’s season is winding down, Overland is already excited at the prospect of next year’s roster. Freshmen and sophomores have been hard at work at the junior varsity level, and he said those players will have a good base of skills going into next year.
“We’ve seen nothing more than improvement,” he said.
James Eik can be reached at email@example.com.