Sports / The Prairie Fire / October 26, 2016

Women’s Tennis closes historic season strong

Freshman Kenna Bell practices her serve during practice earlier this season.  (Julian Blye/TKS)

Freshman Kenna Bell practices her serve during practice earlier this season. (Julian Blye/TKS)

The Knox Women’s Tennis team recently finished up their season, closing with their highest win total since the 2012 season.

The team, consisting of only five upperclassmen, was 13 women strong. Under second year coach Lawrence Eyre, the team saw a second consecutive year of improvement, ending both seasons with more wins than before Eyre’s hiring.

But this team and its athletes consists of deeper dynamics that contribute to the importance of their successes this fall. One of two seniors returned to tennis after a three year hiatus, and the expectations that come along with following up on success can make for distractions.

Sophomore Maddie Schacht began her second year on the Knox Women’s Tennis team with a fair bit of surprise, explaining, “I was put higher in the lineup than I thought I was going to be, and way higher than I was last year.”

Sophomore Melissa Smith swings to return a ball during a drill in practice earlier this season. (Julian Blye/TKS)

Sophomore Melissa Smith swings to return a ball during a drill in practice earlier this season. (Julian Blye/TKS)

Being higher in the order means higher levels of competition in each match, though this did not discourage Schacht.

“By the time we went to conference and I would play some of those higher in the order people I found I could handle them more because of how much I had to improve already,” Schacht said.

This kind of season-long improvement shows, as the team managed to win four conference matches this season, a feat not reached since the 1996 season.

Schacht feels that there are definitely a few higher goals going into the spring season, a big one being more intense practices.

“Possibly [a goal is] consistency, I think that people have good days and bad days, but practicing how you want to play is how we can avoid freezing up in some of these matches,” Schacht said.

The hope is that this youthful roster can mature enough to find some long-term success.

In closing a historic Women’s Tennis Fall season, the team begins to set its sights on the Spring season.

With the momentum they built up as the Fall season progressed, Women’s Tennis is trending in the right direction.

The hope is that an incoming class next Fall will allow this team to continue its forward strides.

Tyler Price

Tags:  Knox sports knox women's tennis maddie schacht

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