Coronado No. 1 singles player Olivia Babeu is like a compulsive shopper on the court – she returns everything.
“I try to keep my cool, but she’s definitely tough,” said Rampart junior Hannah Young, who trailed Babeu 7-6, 5-0 Thursday before rain washed out the match between the schools. “She’s like a backboard out there.”
5A Rampart (5-2) is deep. No powerhouses, says coach Laura Kellar, but pretty consistent from top to bottom. 4A Coronado (5-2) on the other hand is young. But Babeu is leading the Cougars to one of its best seasons in recent memory.
Thursday, after nearly two hours of play at Coronado, Cougars coach Paul Bernier remorsefully postponed the match to next Thursday. The Cougars, who lead 2-1, will travel to Rampart to finish at 2:15 p.m.
Shaking his head at the gray skies, Bernier can at least smile at the unexpected bright spot Babeu has brought to the season.
“She’s great,” he said.
Young would send the freshman all over the court, but it usually ended the same.
“I would just send a drop shot back,” said Babeu (5-2).
As of now, the “backboard” doesn’t have a kill shot. Evidently she lets her opponents commit their own mistakes after her quickness helps her ease the ball back.
“It comes from being a runner,” her father said about his daughter, who has been running longer than she’s been a tennis player.
In fact, she only picked up a racket two years ago so her friend had someone to play with after school.
“I like it,” she said.
Moving down the scorecard, sophomore Chanelle Bole (No. 2) and junior Allie Beaudin (No. 3) fill out the singles spots for the Cougars. Before the rain, Bole lost to the Rams’ Leya Hartman (6-2, 6-2) and Beaudin held a one-set lead against Lindsay Smith.
In doubles play, the Cougars took the top two matches. Rampart took the first set in No. 3 and the No. 4 teams had just begun.
With 8½ successful matches behind him, Bernier knows it’d be a “miracle” to get to the same level as a Cheyenne Mountain.
Similarly, Rampart at this stage can only hope to become the next Cherry Creek.
“But hey, it’s something to try for,” he said.