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Young Braves get first victory

By Erin Shriver
On March 6, 2013

 

Michelle Westerman, Bekka Bailey, Madeline Bellew, Danika Good, Ellen Agnew and Kimisha Peterson competed Friday in Lincoln, Neb. against Doane College in the first tennis match of the spring season.

Although the team competed in the fall, the spring semester’s season is the one that counts for conference play. The Lady Braves had three victories in singles by Bellew, Good and Bailey, as well as wins by all three doubles teams.

“I won the first set 6-1,” Bailey said. “The next set she caught back up and won 4-6. We had to play a tie-breaker and I wasn’t going to lose that.”

She won the tie-breaker, 10-6.

Bellew started off a bit differently, winning her singles match 6-1 and 6-3.

“I skated through the first set, but I got a little comfortable in the second,” she said.

Although she never lost the lead, Bellew knew she could have done better.

“I started to lose concentration in the second set, but Katya (Zapadalova), our assistant coach, is great and really knows how to calm me down when I start getting upset,” Bellew said.

Bellew says it is important to laugh when things start to get tough on the court and Zapadalova does a great job with that.

Good used her coaches to her advantage as well, winning 6-2, 6-0.

“I started off my singles match a little rough, making way too many mistakes,” Good said. “But after losing the first two games, coach came over and gave me a few tips to help fix my mistakes.”

Good is playing a new spot on the team, number five instead of three because of an injury.

“I knew because of my injury that the biggest factor that would help me was to just be consistent and smart with my shots,” Good said.

The pairs for the doubles matches were Good and Bellew, Agnew and Westerman, and Peterson and Bailey.

All of the doubles teams were new this semester; it was their first doubles match with their partner.

“Ellen and I worked pretty well together for our first time playing doubles together,” Westerman said.

Agnew agreed that she and Westerman worked well together, but also believed their chemistry off the court helped to get a win.

“We started off down, and then we were ahead, but then they came back,” Agnew said. “We just kept calm and both kept thinking that we could still win.”

Although they weren’t partners last semester, Bailey said she and Peterson used their friendship to their advantage during their doubles match.

“Being such good friends helps with how we play,” Bailey said. “We can talk to each other and pump each other up after each point, as well as tell each other if we need to fix something on the court.”

“Bekka and I went into the match with great intensity,” Peterson said. “We told ourselves before the match even started that we were going to win, and we did.”

The last doubles team was hoping for the same thing.

“This was mine and Danika’s first doubles match together,” Bellew said. “I was so pleased with how well we played.”

Although they were down a few times during the match, they came back with an 8-5 win.

“I am not the strongest doubles player so I was worried about playing the number one position,” Bellew said. “I am definitely more of a singles player.”

Bellew believes by putting their skills together, they came out and surprised everyone.

“Madeline and I communicated well, and although we made our share of mistakes and gave away far too many points, we didn’t let it get us down,” Good said. “We didn’t even give up when we did get behind.”

Head coach Lance Lysaught and Zapadalova did not find this win as much of a surprise.

“We are happy to have such a great group of freshman women to train and work with on bringing a winning tradition to OU tennis,” Lysaught said.

Bellew said the team wants to catch a lot of opponents off guard this season.

“I am looking forward to surprising a lot of teams,” Bellew said. “When people hear start up programs, they think that they will be an easy team to beat.”

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