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Spartan netters compete but wind up swept away

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Connersville High School tennis player Juliette Collins lunges for a return in her No. 3 singles match against Oldenburg’s Sarah Price, Wednesday at CHS. Collins lost to Price 6-3, 6-1.
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Connersville’s Kelsey Smithprepares at the net for a return, as No. 2 doubles partner Morgan Hauger looks on in the background. Smith and Hauger were competitive in a 6-3, 6-2 loss to Oldenburg Academy duo Alexa Miles and Carsen Thompson. CHS fell to the visiting Lady Twisters 5-0.

By GRADY TATE - gtate@newsexaminer.com

Tradition, particularly a winning one, can sometimes be a very high hurdle to overcome.

With that in mind, the Connersville High School girls tennis team gave it a try.

Welcoming Oldenburg Academy to Spartan Courts, the Lady Spartan were trying to overcome a Lady Twister squad that has always been one of the toughest dates on the CHS schedule.

But on Wednesday, tradition won the day, the Twisters spinning their way to a 5-0 varsity win.

Putting an exclamation point on that, Oldenburg then swept through seven junior varsity match, leaving town with a combined 12-0 record in hand.

“Year in and year out, Oldenburg is the toughest team we play,” Connersville head coach Chris Diercks said. “They just have an outstanding tennis program there.”

That said, however, there was something a little different this time around, at least on the singles courts.

“I thought our girls started out with a lot of confidence in the match,” the CHS mentor said, referring to the first set in all three singles matches.

Midway through the first set, Rylee Fuller (No. 1), Shaina Laughlin (2) and Juliette Collins (3) had opponents Kathryn Wilder, Angela Wanstrath and Sarah Price within reach.

It didn’t last, though, as the visitors turned it up a notch in the second, all three of them winning in straight sets.

“I think that, by the second set, Oldenburg had figured out what they needed to do,” Diercks said. “Once they did that, they were able to put the match away.”

Laughlin wound up winning five games through her two sets, followed by Collins with four and Fuller with two (both in the first set).

“I really like what the girls were trying to accomplish today,” Diercks said. “The problem is that they just ran into a far superior opponent.”

On the doubles courts, Cheyenne Harmeyer and Hannele Burch were unable to build any momentum in their No. 1 match with Hanna Hurm and Sarah Preston, falling by a 6-0, 6-0 score.

The No. 2 duo of Kelsey Smith and Morgan Hauger were more successful, but still wound up falling to Alexa Miles and Carsen Thompson in straight sets 6-2, 6-3.

Competing for the Connersville junior varsity on singles courts were Grace Silcott, Abbi Stringer, Tyra Steele, Hayley Baker and Tammy Pham.

On the doubles courts, CHS played three reserve matches.

The tandems of Katie Cooley and Courtney James, and Morgan Dafler and Bekah Barnes were both defeated.

Connersville did pick up one win on the day, as local duo Raegan Patton and Hunter Lovett beat teammates Emily Price and Bailey Wilson in an exhibition match, by a score of 6-0.

Though the Spartans failed to register a point on the day, Diercks warned not to be fooled.

“Watching them play today, I am actually impressed with how much they are improving,” he said. “Today’s score really isn’t indicative of how well the girls played in this match, nor does it show how far the girls have come in a short amount of time.

“I actually have very high hopes for the rest of the season.”

The Spartans are in action Saturday, hosting Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference rival Greensburg. First serve is set for 11 a.m.



Oldenburg Academy 5, Connersville 0

(at Spartan Courts)



No. 1 — Rylee Fuller (C) lost to Kathryn Wilder 6-2, 6-0

No. 2 — Shaina Laughlin (C) lost to Angela Wanstrath 6-3, 6-2

No. 3 — Juliette Collins (C) lost to Sarah Price 6-3, 6-1


No. 1 — Cheyenne Harmeyer and Hannele Burch (C) lost to Hanna Hurm and Sarah Preston 6-0, 6-0

No. 2 — Kelsey Smith and Morgan Hauger (C) lost to Alexa Miles and Carsen Thompson 6-2, 6-3

Junior Varsity


No. 1 — Grace Silcott (C) lost to Gigi Dryer 6-1

No. 2 — Abbi Stringer (C) lost to Jayden Rose 6-3

No. 3 — Tyra Steele (C) lost to Samantha Sheets 6-4

No. 4 — Hayley Baker (C) lost to Meg Flannery 6-1

No. 5 — Tammy Pham (C) lost to Gigi Dryer 4-1


No. 1 — Katie Cooley and Courtney James (C) lost to Gigi Dryer and Jayden Rose 6-1

No. 2 — Morgan Dafler and Bekah Barnes (C) lost to Samantha Sheets and Meg Flannery 6-0

No. 3 — Raegan Patton and Hunter Lovett (C) defeated Emily Price and Bailey Wilson (C) 6-0