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Girls' tennis: Experience, patience pays off for Doherty

April 2, 2014 Updated: April 2, 2014 at 10:45 pm
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photo - Pine Creek #1 doubles player Melissa Shambach steps in front of teammate Victoria Hillebrant as she volleys the ball back to Doherty's Nicole Allen and Kayla Wald as the two teams face each other at Pine Creek Wednesday, April 2, 2014. Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette
Pine Creek #1 doubles player Melissa Shambach steps in front of teammate Victoria Hillebrant as she volleys the ball back to Doherty's Nicole Allen and Kayla Wald as the two teams face each other at Pine Creek Wednesday, April 2, 2014. Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette 

With 17 years of experience as Doherty girls' tennis coach, Cheri Rogers has more experience in that department than her top singles player, Kylie Simons, has in life.

Rogers used that knowledge to give her junior a couple of pointers, and Simons eventually rolled to a 6-4, 6-0 victory Tuesday over Pine Creek sophomore Ally Bellas.

"She wasn't moving and was giving up too many points," Rogers said. "And she was being very impatient. Moving your feet and being patient usually means good things."

The Spartans won the dual meet, played at Pine Creek, by a 6-1 margin.

At one point midway through the first set of the No. 1 singles match, a persistent north wind actually blew Simons' long, backhanded return back over the net, preventing a Bellas return.

That was just one of many tough breaks for the Eagles, forced to end two singles matches early after Alisha Hinrichs had to leave for work, down a set but ahead 3-2 in the second, and Sara Taylor suffered a twisted ankle just five games into her No. 3 singles match.

"Alisha let me know in the morning that her replacement at work fell through," Eagles longtime coach Dave Lehman said. "Such is life. It's the season, but I'm looking forward to regionals. We're building for that part of the season."

Simons, who played behind older sister Reagan the past three seasons, finally reached the No. 1 position this season. On Wednesday, she dropped the first game but seemingly took control by winning four straight.

That is, until Bellas quickly tied the match at 4, breaking Simons' serve twice.

But Simons found a different gear after breaking back in the ninth game, closed out the set on serve and cruised through the second set.

"I played smarter today and adjusted to the wind much better," said Simons, one of five Spartans to fall to Pueblo West in a dual on Tuesday. "I lost my focus a little in the first set, but I was told to play smart and to place my shots better. Then I feel like I picked up on her weaknesses more as the match wore on."

A decade ago, Bellas lived in Colorado Springs. With a father in the Air Force, she then moved to Georgia, Hawaii and then The Netherlands before returning this school year.

"The competition is much more difficult here," Bellas said. "I'm just trying to get up to speed, and I hope to get better the next few years. I need to work on my consistency."

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