Advantage Dawgs

Clay Stone, Staff Writer

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“This season has been a battle,” said girls tennis coach John Lehmer. The 2017 girls tennis season is coming to a close and Lehmer has plenty of evidence behind that statement. Only two players with varsity experience returned to the team this year, seniors Tea Guerra and Jordynn Simpson. Because of a torn meniscus, Simpson wasn’t able to consistently play singles this year. Senior Kylie Engleman had to step into the #1 singles spot, even after not playing on the varsity squad last year. “Last year I was terrible, and I got put right into varsity this year, so it was really stressful. I’ve played sports for all my life, so I really pushed myself to get better and that was big for me,” Engleman said. Her effort did not go unnoticed as she continued to work hard. “I was impressed at the way Kylie Engleman stepped up to play singles. Her record was not impressive, but her level of improvement was beyond impressive,” said Lehmer.

Guerra said that one of the biggest problems for the team was the lack of experience. “No one in North Platte is raised to be a tennis player, no one plays from a young age, you just start in high school and that’s the only experience you get.” Lehmer was encouraged by the progress though. “The highlight of the year was simply witnessing the level of improvement of all of the players throughout the season. I have to admit that getting our first win last week against Scottsbluff was a great feeling after so many tough losses” Simpson expressed her concerns for the season, “We need to overcome obstacles to keep winning, because right now we aren’t.” The girls got it done in their duel against Alliance, getting their second win of the 2017 season. The girls varsity tennis players that have claimed a state spot are senior Kylie Engleman, playing #1 singles, and Junior Maddie Custer, playing #2 singles. Tea Guerra and Jordyn Simpson will play #1 doubles this year, and junior Hannah Nelson will be playing #2 doubles with sophomore Codi Guerrieri.

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