Raider girls notch another sweep

Photo by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Southridge junior Olivia Lopez returns a ball in two singles action on Wednesday. Lopez won her match, and so did the rest of her teammates against Evansville Harrison. That gave the Raiders a 5-0 sweep of their opponent for the second day in a row. 

By COREY STOLZENBACH
sports@dcherald.com

HUNTINGBURG - Southridge tennis coach Paul Kinker wasn't too sure his players would be able to compete on Wednesday, given the way it was raining for a little bit. Yet, his players took care of the court, and they got down to business.

The Raiders (3-1) took down Evansville Harrison, 5-0, sweeping their match for the second day in a row. They also prevailed with a 5-0 score against Evansville Bosse on Tuesday after dropping a 3-2 match on Monday at Evansville Christian. Kinker felt like his Raiders matched up well against both the Bulldogs and Warriors, and sees an explanation behind the team's 3-1 record on the year.

"We've been fortunate that we've gotten a lot of practice time in," Kinker said. "Some of the other teams have been rained out a lot. So, we are fortunate - we've had probably 12-14 practices already, able to get on the courts and hit around."

Some of Southridge's tennis players aren't as established as some of their teammates. Someone like junior two singles player Olivia Lopez doesn't quite have the experience that Southridge's doubles tandems or one singles player Olivia Durcholz, a fellow junior, does. Yet, Lopez stayed in the win column on Wednesday after taking three losses to start the season.

"From Olivia Lopez not having a lot of varsity experience - she's really stepped over the last couple days, to prove that and get the points that we needed," Kinker said.

The Raiders did have a change to their lineup on Wednesday. Senior Abby Kerkhoff and junior Emily Roby switched spots - where Kerkhoff went from two doubles to three singles, while Roby teamed with senior Gabbie Werner in the two doubles tandem.

"Emily had a long match yesterday, (it) kind of tired her out," he said. "Abby had not played three singles before. I know she can do it. We have seen her in some of the challenge matches. So, we just thought we would make a switch (and) see how it worked out."

"You have to run around a lot - because doubles you can count on your other partner and singles it's just yourself," Kerkhoff said.

Kerkhoff adjusted, and regardless of whom the Raiders have plugged into their doubles spots, they just keep rolling along. They are a perfect 8-0 in doubles play so far this year. Kinker cited the experience and the chemistry that his doubles players have as catalysts for their success.

Kinker also told the Herald on Wednesday about some of the improvements his players are making.

"I think a lot of girls continue to hit well and strategize where they're going to hit the ball, rather than just keep it in play, left-right winner shots type of situations," he said. "And their serves were much better than they were even from last week, and I think (as they) continue on the season, I think they'll continue to get better."

He said the Raiders will spend time in Thursday's practice working on lob shots, but there are also going to be challenge matches. These next three weeks will consist of the Raiders playing every day from Monday-Thursday.

It all starts on April 12 at county rival Northeast Dubois.

"I think any time you play a rival within Dubois County, it's a nice matchup," Kinker said. "Now, Dubois has always put a very strong team together. I think it will be a very challenging match for us on Monday, but (it's) always good to play Dubois and Forest Park and all the close ones."




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