Tennis season ends one step shy of state
Topeka The tears welled in Heidi Schultz' eyes, but she blinked them away quickly.
There would be no crying today, at least not here. Not on the court. That's just not her style.
The most consistent player on the Lansing High tennis team during the last two years, Schultz' poise showed itself one last time as she smiled, shook Morgan Hines' hand and then walked off the court for the final time. Hines, a freshman from Tecumseh-Shawnee Heights, had just rallied to beat Schultz in three sets, 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.
"You're going to have some off days," LHS coach Rachel Elkins said. "And I think Heidi knows that you have to have your 'A bag' when you come to a match like this. That first set she was there, but you can never let up tactically."
Schultz was forced to sit and wait for more than three hours before finally playing a match. She earned the No. 4-seed overall and a first-round bye. While Schultz waited, Hines and Stephanie Downs of Topeka Seaman slugged through a 2-hour, 40-minute match. Almost every other singles match finished at least an hour faster.
The wait gave Schultz plenty of time to get nervous. She said sitting around frustrated her a bit, but she said it didn't affect the way she played.
"I saw all of the other girls playing, and I was ready," she said. "I had my wrist taped and I thought I was going to play sooner, and then I didn't. It really shouldn't have affected me. I don't think it did."
When her match finally began, Schultz resembled her typical poised self as she cruised through victories in the first three games and eventually won the opening set. He hit a steady assortment of shots down the line and perfectly placed rainbows. Even her serve - her main weakness - was flawless.
Then the second set began. That's when the tables turned.
Hines looked exhausted during game one, but she suddenly calmed down and smoothed out her strokes. At the same time, Schultz' serve began to falter and the rest of her shots followed suit. She lost the first four games of the set before falling, 6-1.
"I suppose not winning my serve the second game (really hurt)," she said. "Before I knew it, it was 3-0, 4-0. She got a little bit of momentum and I just decelerated."
Set three was a mirror image of set two as Hines put the match away.
Although none of the Lions advanced to state, all of them experienced at least a little bit of success at regionals.
Doubles teammates Abby Hauver and Briana Hall lost to No. 6-seed Becky Broxterman and Ashley Welch of Topeka West, 6-0, 6-1, but they pulled together and won a game midway through the second set. Lansing's other doubles team - junior Christine Cordes and freshman Amy Briggs - pounded Ashley Munsall and Midnight Deeds-Rookstool, 6-0, 6-0, in the first round before losing to Kristen Ford and Erika Lucero of Shawnee Heights in the quarterfinals, 6-0, 6-1. In singles, junior Lauren Elkins earned a victory over Highland Park's Karen Nichols, 6-1, 6-3, before falling in the quarterfinals to Emporia's Hallie Kretsinger, 6-0,6-0.