Aquinas tennis makes some changes and successfully defends its reg title
by Terez Paylor
Kansas City Star
Nicole Jara admits her opportunity to win a state title in singles has come sooner than even she expected.
But at practice Wednesday, Saints co-coaches Amy Person and
David Shriver dropped a bombshell on the team. In an effort to gain
more points at state, they decided to split up Jara and Brouwer de
Koning and put them in singles for Thursday’s regional at Gardner
“It was difficult to do, but just made sense to
put forth the best we have,” Person said. “Nicole and Lujan can get
more points apart than they can together.”
And if the way
the Saints played Thursday was any indication, it was the right
decision. Behind the strong play of Jara and the Saints’ newly elevated
No. 1 doubles team of senior Elizabeth Close and freshman Natalie
Looney, Aquinas accumulated a team score of 15 points — seven more than
second-place Bishop Miege — on their way to successfully defending
their regional team title.
“I’m excited to play singles
— I wasn’t planning on it this year,” said Jara, who won the singles
title with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Isabella Maasberg of Bishop Miege. “(Me
and Lujan) were a little disappointed at first, but we understand it’s
going to work out better this way.”
Meanwhile, Close and
Looney, who have compiled a 20-3 record this season, continued their
recent surge by beating Kelsie George and Marijana Gjorgjevska of
Gardner Edgerton 6-2, 6-3 in the doubles final.
week, Close and Looney won the EKL Tournament by beating Shae Fournier
and Madison Rhyner — the top-seeded team — in the semifinals and Jara
and Brouwer de Koning in the finals.
“We knew we had potential,” Close said. “But last week really gave us confidence.”
the Saints, who qualified two singles players and two doubles teams for
state, also received plenty of help from a few other players. Brouwer
de Koning took fourth in singles, while the Saints’ doubles team of
Katie Krim and Bridget Porter — who had only played four varsity
matches together entering the regional — took third.
while Person and her team are more than happy to bask in the glow of
another regional title, she also knows they won’t really find out
whether they made the correct decision until Oct. 17-18 — the days of
the state tournament.
“To be continued,” Person said, laughing.