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Tiger tennis opens season with win




Fort Hays State University's season-opening opponent, Hastings (Neb.) College, had a a player suffer an injury during Friday's practice. Hastings, a young team, was down to only five players, so the Tigers immediately started Saturday's competition with a 2-0 lead. The Tigers, though, didn't let up and cruised to a 9-0 win at the Fort Hays courts.

"The intensity was there like it was 0-0," coach Brian Flax said. "Which was awesome. We came out and played pretty good doubles and carried things over into the singles."

Entering the tournament, the Tigers had several questions after Flax had to revamp the lineup. Sophomore Brianna Watkins missed the tournament because of injury and junior Krista Lindsey couldn't play because of a class, but FHSU delivered a strong effort all day. The No. 1 doubles team of sophomore Melissa Skovira and freshman Megan Quinley took a 7-0 lead, dropped a couple games, but finished with a win.

"They came out on fire," Flax said. "They were solid the whole time. They complement each other so well. Megan has got a big serve, Melissa is so tough at the net. I don't know how many times Megan kind of set Melissa up for an easy put away at the net. They are both very athletic and they can make a lot of plays that other people may not be able to."

The No. 2 doubles pairing of freshman Zoie Young and sophomore Laura Johnson started slowly and trailed 3-1, battled back, collected a break to go up 5-4 and won the last four games for an 8-4 victory. Johnson and Young, both left-handers, had practiced little together and may not play together for the rest of the year. Flax could go with Johnson and Lindsey in the future at No. 2 doubles.

Hastings had to forfeit the No. 3 doubles match because of the injured player.

"It took a little time for them to get comfortable with each other on the court," Flax said.

"It's kind of odd to see two left-handers on the court at the same time. You don't see that a whole lot, especially at this level. Laura is such a good teammate and Zoie, she tries and she gives everything that she has. Just took them a little bit to get going, but they finished strong."

The Tigers swept the singles matches, including a win by Skovira at No. 1 singles and a close victory at No. 2 singles by Johnson (6-3, 6-4).

"She had kind of a tight second set there, but I think she was playing their best player," Flax said. "It was nice to see Laura get a good win against a quality opponent."

The Tigers will head to the Bethany College tournament Friday and Saturday and will return home Oct. 1 against Newman University.

"We had a good day and I told them to enjoy it," Flax said.

Sport Date Opponent Score
2/18 SW Baptist L 66-53
12/1 Oklahoma - Panhandle L 66-60 (OT)