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Lady Comets ace fast start
Lady Comets ace fast start
By TONY LANGE
The Solon girls tennis team doesn't have that superstar who will make a run at a state title, but what the Lady Comets do have is a solid lineup from first singles through second doubles.
With wins against Mentor, 4-1, Orange, 4-1, and Medina, 4-1, last week, Solon improved to a 9-1 record with the Lady Comets' only loss coming against Kenston, 3-2, on Aug. 31.
Returning six players from last year, Solon knew what would be coming down the pipe this season, head coach Linda Fox said.
"It's just a great group of kids," she said. "They're supportive of each other, and they're just, 'I'll play wherever you need me to play, with whoever you need me to play, however you need me to play.' That's what I love about them"
Switching back and forth on the first and second singles courts, senior Jamie Marks and junior Tinisee Kandakai are about equal in ability, Fox said.
Ohio High School Athletic Association rules require teams to play their first, second and third singles courts in order of talent, as well as the two doubles courts.
Should a coach unjustly tweak his or her players - put a less talented player on a higher court - in an effort to play a more favorable lineup for a win, an opposing coach can appeal to the state and force an opponent's forfeit.
"Tinisee is probably more powerful, and Jamie is probably more consistent," Fox said. "When they play each other, I'll have them play a set, and maybe Jamie will win, 7-5, and then they'll play another set, and Tinisee will win, 6-4. When the scoring is done, they're always pretty even."
Last year, Marks and Kandakai paired up on the doubles court for the postseason and advanced to districts, but an ankle injury grounded the Lady Comets' run.
"I had an extra bone in my ankle that one of the fibrous connections broke off of, so whenever I would go for a serve or bend my ankle, it would just really hurt," Marks said. "It's good now though.
"Practicing against Tinisee has been really nice, because I really get a good workout when I'm playing against her, and she challenges me with all of her shots, and it just improves both of our games a lot more."
Against Orange and Medina last week, however, Kandakai did not play, because she tweaked her foot and wanted to just play it safe on the sidline, Fox said.
Taking over the second singles court, senior Danielle Pivovar won her matches last week, including a 6-3, 7-6(5) tiebreaker against Medina's Brooke Ott.
She usually plays first doubles with junior Hailey Baird.
"I do like the singles court," Pivovar said. "I'm relying on myself more than anyone else. So, if I make a mistake, I think to myself, 'What do I do?' And then I fix it the next time, and I get to really play my game compared to playing three other people's games.
"The tiebreaker was a lot of pressure, but I've always been known to play better under pressure, because I know that there's a lot on the line and when it comes down to it. It's just so mental."
Pivovar said she plays out every point no matter what the game, set or match score is, because she remembers her freshmen year when she didn't make the cut for the junior varsity team at Solon.
"I've been playing tennis since I was 6 years old, year round," she said. "But when it came to my freshman year, I guess I just didn't prepare well enough. I was very upset about it for awhile, and I thought this is it for me in tennis. But I came back, worked even harder and became the first singles player on JV my sophomore year. Now here I am playing varsity for my second season, and it's honestly been one of the most rewarding experiences."
Solon sophomore Monika Brandi, meanwhile, won her matches against Orange and Medina on the third singles court last week.
With Pivovar on the singles court, Baird teamed up with Kan Prasertsak, a foreign exchange student from Thailand, and they won their first doubles matches.
On the second doubles court, seniors Alana Fayman and Lexi Lurie won their matches.
During the Lady Comets' first nine wins, six of them were 4-1 decisions and the other three were 5-0.
"Starting the season with so many wins is really great," Marks said. "It keeps our spirits up. And it's not like there's one person leading the team. Our team is strong across the board. It's really good."
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