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Young Coventry girls tennis team showed improvement during season

11/1/2012 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

COVENTRY — Coventry High School girls tennis head coach Heather Peterson said her team’s win-loss record isn’t necessarily indicative of the progress made by her players this season.

“Our overall record was 2-15 and our league record for the Portage Trail Conference [PTC] was 2-9,” she said. “But we improved every match. I had a couple of key players that were consistent for me who were second- and third-year letter-winners. Overall, though, we were a very young team. I really only had two seniors with a lot of experience, and then the rest of the team was mostly made up of sophomores and a couple of freshman.”

Peterson said 2012 was “definitely a rebuilding year” for the program.

“Next year will be a rebuilding year as well,” she said. “Losing my seniors is going to hurt.”

This year’s team included a total of three seniors, including Candice Hartman, who played first singles.

“She was 8-12 on the year, and she finished in fifth place at the PTC tournament,” the coach said. “She was one of my co-captains and definitely a player I counted on every match. This is a girl that gives 110 percent. She definitely loves the game.”

Senior Shelby Barnard played second singles for Coventry this season.

“Shelby also placed fifth at the PTC tournament,” Peterson said. “Shelby is a three-year letter-winner and another go-to girl for me. She’s a hard worker.”

The team’s final senior was Taylor Kinsinger, a first-year player.

“She played the majority of the season at third singles and a few matches at second doubles,” the coach said. “She showed improvement from the first match to the end. She’s a hard worker with a lot of spirit.”

Two of the key players this season were sophomores.

“Kayla Jackson and AnneMarie Blankenship played first doubles for me for the majority of the season, and they were very highly competitive as sophomores. Many of the league coaches told me that the girls will be a great team by the time that they are seniors,” the coach said. “Individually, Kayla ended with 10 wins and seven losses and AnneMarie was 8-11.”

According to Peterson, another sophomore from this year’s team who will be counted on to lead the team next season is Kailey Lushes.

“She showed tremendous gains from her freshman year to this season,” the coach said. “I was very proud of her in the PTC tournament, where we picked up our first win at the second doubles spot and she was one of the players in that position.”

The other player on that second doubles team was freshman Amanda Michaels.

“She improved from the beginning of the season to the end, and I’m sure she’ll be back next season,” the coach said.

This was Peterson’s third year as the Coventry girls tennis head coach.

“This is a great group of girls. They’re fun to be around,” she said. “They want to get better every match, and they love to compete. It is so enjoyable for me to be their coach.”

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