Girls Tennis Wins Big in First Match

On Tuesday, Aug. 25, the FHN girls tennis team played their first home match. In the match, they defeated the FZE Lions by a final team score of 9-0.

“We had a lot of team bonding,” sophomore Emma Eckhard said. “We knew each other better, so we could communicate a lot better.”

As a result of the match, the Knights secured their first win to boost themselves to 1-0 on the season and starting off on the right foot, while the Lions dropped to 1-1 following the loss. The players of the Knights give all of the praise to the coaches, and the coaches attribute the win to preparation and teamwork.

“Our coaches [were the defining factor],” junior Emma Meyers said of the match. “We were prepared completely because of our awesome coaches. I don’t think their coaches take it as seriously as ours.”

Those “awesome coaches” are led by head coach Kate Kleiber. She’s in her fifth year as the head coach, and she still has just as much love for the game as she did when she started. This is extremely evident through her short speeches at practice, which promote the importance of teamwork and humility on the court. She also stresses to the team that respect and sportsmanship are two key factors in the game of tennis.

“I look for hard-working players,” Kleiber said. “I do what I always do. I drill them, and we do match-play situations. We were well-prepared for the first match, but the ones coming up, we’ll see. We have two tough matches next week.”

The two matches of which Kleiber spoke will take place on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, and they will be against Parkway Central and Francis Howell, respectively. Even though the team is coming off of a 9-0 victory, they will still have to remain sharp and focused for the upcoming matches.

“We did well,” Kleiber said, “but there’s still a lot to work on yet. We needed to take advantage of soft serves and soft returns. You have to say that coming off of a big win, you’ll be more confident. There’s nothing worse than a tough match right off the bat. So we’ll be building from the big win.”

Even though the team has a bit of a tough stretch ahead of them, they are still very confident in their abilities, and they remain extremely optimistic. That attitude of respectful optimism and quiet determination is drilled into them by their coaches, and the players receive it very well. Everyone involved in the program is looking forward to a great year battling on the courts and competing for the championship.

“We’ve got a great season ahead,” Kleiber said to sum things up. “We’re looking to win it all. If I work hard, I think it’ll pay off for the team.”

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