Rangers battle elements against WashingtonApril 20, 2021
By JIMMY LAFAKIS
FERDINAND — Hearty gusts of wind dominated the atmosphere of Tuesday evening’s Pocket Athletic Conference tennis contest between Forest Park (7-1, 3-1) and Washington. The Rangers dropped the 5-0 decision, but the adverse conditions provided ample opportunities for growth.
“What we can take away is how we can use the wind to our advantage,” Forest Park coach Amie Weyer said. “Obviously, the wind was a big, big factor tonight. These girls played really well tonight. They just have to make sure we’re working, moving our feet, moving our opponents and being strategic with our shots.”
Forest Park junior Brooke Haug squared off against Washington senior Bella Thorne in the One Singles match. Thorne earned a 6-2, 6-1 victory, but Haug challenged her throughout the match.
“She’s very competitive,” Weyer said of Haug. “She works hard. She’s trying new things. She’s always trying to move her opponent — bring her up, go up to the net. She’s being very strategic about her play, which is great. That’s something you always want.”
Forest Park sophomore Kenzie Schulz lost a 6-0, 6-0 Two Singles match to Washington junior Alaina Thorne. The blustery wind started picking up when Forest Park junior Payton Dilger met Washington junior Kenli Barber in the Three Singles match. Dilger lost the 6-2, 6-0 contest.
As the match progressed into its latter stages, the elements reigned supreme. The fierce gusts caused the temperature to drop. Weyer discussed the wind’s various effects on spin, ball placement and overall control.
“On the serve, we want a little bit of a lower toss with the wind,” she said. “The wind will take the ball away. When we’re playing, we need to use lots of topspin depending on which direction the wind is blowing on which side of the court we are. It’s just making it part of our game.”
The Rangers’ senior duo of Molly Lusk and Kaylee Uebelhor met Washington sophomore Sydney Melton and senior Sophia Davis in the One Doubles match. The first set showcased competitive twists and turns — once one side captured some momentum, the other team made a run. The 7-5, 6-1 match went to Washington.
“It was obviously a tough match with the wind, but I thought they did really well,” Weyer said. “They talked and really communicated, which is a big thing. Communication in doubles is key. They were moving their opponents and were really trying to work with the wind, which was hard tonight. They fought hard and tried their best.”
Rangers sophomore Kaylee Berg and junior Emma Grundhoefer met Washington’s senior tandem of Kenzie Knepp and Addy McMurray at Two Doubles. Grundhoefer and Berg lost the 6-2, 6-2 match to the Hatchets.
Forest Park plays PAC foe South Spencer Thursday at home.
“I’m hoping we can come out, bounce back from this and play strong on Thursday,” Weyer said.
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