With rain aplenty, Cats finish invite indoorsMay 5, 2019
By HENDRIX MAGLEY
JASPER — Saturday followed a pattern that was eerily similar to the schedule that many other days this spring have endured — rain, rain and a little more rain.
With many local games and tournaments canceled, one sport was able to finish its two-day invitational inside where it was nice and dry.
Thanks to the Ed Yarbrough Indoor Tennis Center, the Jasper eight-team girls tennis invite was able to wrap up by playing the five championship matches on the two indoor courts on Saturday afternoon.
While every match got around 15 minutes or so to warm up on the court and get used to the new conditions, the Jasper girls playing on Saturday were grateful to already have plenty of experience playing in the indoor facilities.
“Since it’s been raining all week, we’ve kind of been well prepared for this with practices taking place in here,” said Josie Yarbrough, who was the No. 1 doubles champion alongside Suchi Bandaru. The pair defeated Jeffersonville’s Alayna Lacy and Olivia Bischof 6-0, 6-0 for the title.
Even though it’s the same game whether you’re playing it indoor or outdoor, there are plenty of small changes you must be prepared to make in order to be successful.
“When you’re indoor the balls fly a little more and they definitely come at you a lot faster,” said Hadley Meyer, who was named the No. 2 doubles champion alongside Delaney Wigand after they defeated Jeffersonville’s Kassie Brown and Tiara Jones 6-2, 6-1. “You have to make sure to tell your partner whether or not a ball is going in or out — you have to realize it’s still the same game but different conditions.”
There’s no denying that having an indoor tennis facility right next to your outdoor tennis complex is helpful when it comes to adjusting to these last-minute changes.
Jasper head coach Scott Yarbrough is well aware of that fact and is grateful to have the facility as part of the Jasper tennis program.
“Whenever we get to play at our indoor facility or we go to someone else’s indoor facility, it’ll be an advantage to whoever’s facility it is,” Yarbrough said. “Because we have this facility, we’ve also probably hit a lot more inside than some kids, but not all. It’s a little bit more of a home court advantage than when we play outside.”
In terms of Saturday’s matches, both Yarbrough/Bandaru and Meyer/Wigand got off to fast starts in order to take control of their respective matches rather quickly.
For Meyer and Wigand, both girls believed that the biggest strength in their No. 2 doubles championship win was their strong play at the net.
“Even though we had a few volleys that went into the net, I think we put those shots in the right spots,” Meyer said.
Wigand added: “We did really good at the net, a lot better than we did (on Friday).”
For the No. 1 doubles combo of Bandaru and Yarbrough, it’s been a bit of an adjusting process as both players were predominately singles players prior to this season.
But even after taking some lumps, the tandem has gained more and more confidence after each match they play.
“For me to come in this year and play doubles, I knew I had to focus on my net game because that’s not always what I want to do,” Bandaru said. “You also have to make sure you always communicate with your partner.”
Scott Yarbrough added: “It’s nice having two players that play all the time at No. 1 doubles. Josie and Suchi have grown up playing together so I think it’s kind of been a natural combination for them.”
As we enter the final week of the regular season, the Cats will have to make some final decisions on what their lineup will look like come sectional time.
But no matter who’s playing where, Jasper wants to make sure they shore up some of the small things before beginning postseason play.
“We have to make sure we’re playing clean, always,” Bandaru said. “We want to be playing our best tennis as we go into sectional and beyond.”
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