Tennis competes at state

It’s no secret that MHS Varsity Tennis isn’t messing around. Following their qualification for the Missouri Elite 8, the team spent hours outside of school practicing, strategizing and preparing for the state tournament.

The sectionals tournament against the Parkway Central Colts was gruesome for the team. However, Maddie Diedrich, senior, led the team to victory with her final match, which put the Mustangs at 5-4, against the Colts.

Heading into the state tournament, Ellie Lewis, freshman, played #1 singles and Athena Zeng, sophomore, played #2 singles this year. Both players made it to state as a doubles team individually. 6 singles players total who doubled back to play 3 doubles matches, which added up to a total of 9 points in a varsity match.

“We all got really close over the course of the season and we were all always there for each other and could give each other constructive criticism. For being such an individual sport, it was really cool to see how encouraging and positive the dynamics felt this season,” Lauren Milburn, junior, said. “The whole state tournament process tightened the bond of our team as well. It’s a great group of positive, encouraging girls that I love.”

Despite adversity with other teams, the Mustangs proved themselves worthy of the state tournament, in which they encountered girls tennis power-house, the Rock Bridge Bruins. After a hard 8 matches, the Mustangs fell to the Bruins with an 0-5 quarterfinal.

“We played our hardest, stayed very positive and focused, and we drove a lot of our shots past our opponents in the allies when they came to the net and it was pretty close,” Milburn said. “I think that everyone contributed pretty equally match-wise but everyone definitely had their moments of glory when their win decided the teams fate overall.”

Next year Milburn plans to have an improved individual season and remain on the individual lineup. “I really want our team to strive to win districts again and hopefully go on to the final 4 in Springfield in the state tournament. Since I will be a senior, I also really want to make it to state as an individual doubles team.”

Although they have high expectations for next season, the team agrees that the 2015 seniors will be heavily missed.

“Even though most of us train at different clubs, we are planning on getting together once a week to practice and improve our doubles games. It’s going to be so different and sad next season without our seniors,” Milburn said.