Generals show improvement in victory over Panthers
NEW MARKET –Every team wants to improve throughout the season. On Wednesday, Stonewall Jackson’s girls tennis team showed just how much they’ve improved.
The Generals defeated Page County, 5-4, in Shenandoah District action at New Market Park.
When the two teams met earlier this season, the match came down to the final doubles match, with Stonewall prevailing. On Wednesday the Generals clinched the team match quickly. Stonewall Jackson won five of the six singles matches.
“The first time was a very close margin,” Stonewall Jackson senior Emily Ball said. “So it feels good for the whole team to see our growth by the larger margin, and it makes us confident for the postseason.”
Ball defeated Page County’s Kellie Lloyd, 8-4, at No. 1 singles. Ball lost to Lloyd, 8-4, when the two teams met on March 20.
She said it felt good to win a match that she had previously lost.
“Today I think I was just more focused. I was more confident,” Ball said. “My serve has improved since then. I’ve worked a lot on it. I just stayed more consistent today overall. I definitely think I’ve come far even this season.”
Stonewall Jackson’s Kelsey Davis beat Page County’s Bri Turner, 8-2, at No. 6 singles, while Page County’s Lacey Samuels defeated Emmy Pilkerton, 8-3, at No. 5 singles.
At No. 4 singles, Stonewall Jackson’s Sarah Miller beat Page County’s Nikki Cubbage, 8-2, to give the Generals a 2-1 lead.
Stonewall Jackson senior Kat Good extended the team lead to 3-1 with an 8-4 victory over Page County’s Zoe Monger.
Good trailed 4-3, but used her steady, consistent groundstrokes to rally for the last five games of the match.
“That girl was definitely really consistent, and she’s really, really good at her short game,” Good said. “I had to learn that I could not compete with her short game. So I had to start playing deeper, and that’s what really helped me out and really helped me win.”
Good said she was getting frustrated, but quickly turned it around.
“Whenever I get frustrated I normally play better, because I just tell myself calm down and breathe and think about my serve,” Good said. “I’ve always been good about keeping a good mindset and not getting in my own head.”
Ball’s victory put the Generals up 4-1. With only five courts at New Market Park, the No. 3 singles match didn’t start until one of the first five singles matches were completed.
Stonewall Jackson (5-4, 4-3 Shenandoah) ended up getting the match-clinching victory at No. 3 doubles.
Pilkerton and Davis knocked off Samuels and Turner, 8-4, at No. 3 doubles. The Stonewall Jackson pair lost when the team met earlier this season, 8-4.
“You just see what we’re doing in practice coming out in matches. That’s always a good sign,” Simmons said. “The thing we talk about every day is we just want to get better.”
Stonewall Jackson’s Lacey Kagey beat Haleigh Hildebrand, 9-7.
“The thing about Lacey is she has the best strokes of any that we have, and so she’s always going to be in every match,” Simmons said. “It’s just a matter of her battling through it. I will tell you this over the last two years whenever we have needed a point Lacey’s gotten it for us. I have that confidence in her.”
Page County won at No. 1 doubles and No. 2 doubles to close the final score to 6-3.
The Generals had to play two matches in one day on Tuesday. Stonewall Jackson and Central completed a match that was suspended by rain from early in the season, and then played their regularly scheduled match. The Generals lost the first match, but won the second one.
Simmons said he was happy with how his players responded having to play again on Wednesday.
Last year the Generals won only four matches, although they still were able to advance to the Region 1A tournament. They have already won five matches this year, which is a positive sign for the players.
“I think it just shows how young our team was last year,” Ball said. “We just lost the one senior from last year. So that just shows how much we worked last year, and how its progressing to this year. It didn’t backtrack at all. I definitely feel like we just continue to get better and it’s shown in every game.”
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org