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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : sports : local May 1, 2016

4/24/2014 1:51:00 PM
Despite close matches Meyer, still 'happiest coach' in U.S.
Senior Bethany Hickey launches a serve with her doubles partner Carol Curran waiting for the return. VVN/Travis Guy
Senior Bethany Hickey launches a serve with her doubles partner Carol Curran waiting for the return. VVN/Travis Guy

Travis Guy
Sports Reporter

Coaches and players like to focus on their wins and losses at the conclusion of a season as a meter to gauge how successful it was, and while Mingus Union girls tennis coach Andrea Meyer would have liked a few more wins in the W column, she is still happy with how her girls became and grew together as a team.

After splitting their final matches of the season, a 9-0 win over Northland Preparatory Academy and an 8-1 loss at Bradshaw Mountain, the Marauders ended the season 4-8.

"If you look at the win/loss column, I surely would have wished that we had two more wins," Meyer said. "We could have picked up a couple more matches, especially the Coconino match that we lost 6-3. On the other hand, there's so much more that goes into building a tennis player and I am the happiest coach in the whole U.S. as far as having kids that make discernible progress, having kids that work together and it's the little things ... they're just a joyful, happy, intelligent and motivated group."

It was a different season for Meyer and her team as the squad began the season with six seniors starting varsity, a far cry from the zero in 2013. At the end of the season the lineup changed a bit but mostly stayed the same.

Bethany Hickey, Carol Curran, Hope Heath, Lauren Nevitt, Courtney Warner and Jordan Scalf all played their final matches at Mingus Union in the girls' sweep of the Spartans.

"I think it let us go out with a big hurrah," Hickey said. "It showed all our skills we've been practicing throughout the year and it showed our loved ones, who have coming out to support us, just how much we've improved with that 9-0 win."

After the NPA win the girls traveled to Prescott Valley to play Bradshaw Mountain and only managed a single win against the Bears. The match offered Meyer the chance to see her post-season doubles pair in action for the first time, Nevitt and Curran.

"I think playing against Bradshaw helped us a lot and it helped us gain a new method of playing and we might try that out at state," Nevitt said.

Curran said that it was nice working with Nevitt as their styles compliment each other, with Nevitt doing her best work toward the back of the court and Curran up by the net.

"I think we have different skill sets that compliment each other," Curran said. "I think Lauren's really good at baseline and I'm pretty strong at net, and vise versa too. Laurens really consistent and I think we just work well together."

The duo, according to Meyer, has a more manageable draw for the tournament than Hickey. Curran and Nevitt will be playing Mardelle Mattingly and Fiona Brown from Sahuaro (Tuscon) High School.

"I think [doubles has] a much easier draw," Meyer said. "... Lauren has a nice spin serve and her strength is that she's got a lob, a nice lob that doesn't have a high trajectory, it just skims over the racquet head. If she can use that lob and Carol can chop them up at the net, that will be great because Carol has, I think, besides Bethany, the best volley in the league. She's got a slice volley, forehand and backhand and when it's on, her anticipation is so hard to beat."

As for Hickey, she drew the No. 8 seed in Ironwood Ridge High School's Stephanie Nickles. Meyer and Hickey both said that the goal is to go out there, have fun and play like she has nothing to lose.

"My goal for Bethany is to have her go out there and play tennis with absolute confidence and freedom because she has nothing to lose," Meyer said. "She's not expected to win that match, Nickles is. If she can go out there, get her first serves in and hitting all of her strokes, beautifully, I think she would be happy and I would be happy. It's going to be a tough match for her to win but you never know."

Like the boys, the girls begin their post-season today, April 25. But instead of being in Scottsdale, the girls are playing at the Phoenix Tennis Center.

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