Smith-Cotton girls tennis successfully defended its courts for a second straight day Tuesday with a 6-3 win over Nevada at Liberty Park.
The Lady Tigers (6-5) defeated Camdenton 5-4 on Monday with help from senior Rita Royaka, who rallied to defeat her opponent, 9-7, in the final singles match of the day. On Saturday, S-C juniors Macy Mathew and Caroline Matz won the doubles bracket as the team placed fourth at the Smith-Cotton Tournament.
Matz said this season’s Lady Tigers, scarce in varsity returners, are a dedicated bunch.
“We just have a lot of devoted girls,” said Matz, who won her singles match 8-1. “We practice a lot and put in a lot of hard work.”
Winning the top doubles match with Matz 8-1, Mathew captured the No. 2 singles match 9-7. Royaka, sophomore Ellie Kotok and freshman Anita Husyeva each swept their respective singles opponents.
Before the Smith-Cotton Tournament, the Lady Tigers had lost five of their last six matches by a variety of margins. Jefferson City and Marshall each swept the Lady Tigers, former West Central Conference partners Warrensburg and Clinton handed them 6-3 losses, while Bolivar and Waynesville each finished 5-4, the latter the only S-C win during the stretch.
Husyeva said she and the Lady Tigers have recovered nicely from losses big and small.
“It teaches us not to give up,” she said. “Since it was that close of a gap, we can win the next one. … We can definitely get more wins next year.”
Generally positive after tripling their win total from last season, the Lady Tigers still have ground to cover if they are to topple top-seeded Rock Bridge or Grain Valley — each of which had nine wins on Tuesday — in the district tournament.
Matz said she was proud of the team’s steady improvement, and hopes to stay true to her game when the heavy-hitters prepare to serve.
“Just try to stay consistent and play our hardest,” Matz said. “Yeah, they are going to be a lot better, but we’re just going to try and play our game.”
The Lady Tigers move forward Thursday at Boonville before opening the Class 2, District 13 Tournament against Hickman at Rock Bridge High School in Columbia.
Alex Agueros can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @abagueros2.