They work hard, they play hard, they have a strong tennis IQ and they even got in a little good-natured trash talk against Truman coach Scott Lett.
Oh yeah, they’re also undefeated with two 9-0 victories to open the season.
They are coach Jordan Groves’ Fort Osage High School girls tennis team and they are having the time of their lives.
They opened the season with a 9-0 win over Belton and proved that victory was no fluke as they followed it up by blanking the Patriots on their home Santa Fe Trail Park court Wednesday afternoon.
The Indians have a big-time hockey player on the team, a soccer standout, a wrestler and a bunch of kids who first picked up a racquet when they were freshmen – and they have worked hard to become a team that brings a smile to the face of anyone who is around them.
“They’re fun, that’s for sure,” Groves said, as his varsity squad stuck around to watch the junior varsity Indians face Truman’s JV. “And, as you can probably tell, they like to have fun.
“But I have already seen a big improvement in their tennis IQ. In fact, they have told me how they are planning their strategy and know what to do. I’m so happy with what they did today because it proves to them that (the win over Belton) wasn’t a fluke. They played well and earned that win, and they did the same thing today.”
Wednesday started with three doubles wins – Brooklyn Dover and Dharma Craig topped Truman’s Rian Caswell and Michelle Gonzalez 9-7; Courtney Huffner and Jayne Smothers beat Rachel Malelega and Kailey Wink 8-4; and Elayna Lamb and Emma Brown blanked Kaileigh Harper and Shawna Clemons 8-0.
Dover won 8-1 at No. 1 singles 8-1, Huffner at No. 2 (8-1), Craig at No. 3 (8-5), Smothers at No. 4 (8-3), Lamb at No. 5 (8-1) and Brown at No. 6 (8-3).
“We’ve definitely been getting the logistics of our placement of our shots down. It helps to know where to place our shots and I think it really throws our opponents off,” Huffner said. “And all that comes from Coach Groves. Most of us picked up a racquet for the first time when we were freshmen. Brooklyn and I are juniors and we’re finally feeling like tennis players out on the court.”
Added Dover: “Sweeping doubles and playing as well as everyone did gave us a lot of confidence going into singles.”
While he was not pleased with the score, Lett liked what he saw from his Truman girls.
“I want them to play hard,” said Lett, who jokingly sparred with the Indians while sitting on their side of the bleachers to watch a doubles match. “I told our girls, I want them to control the things they can control, to play hard and not let their emotions get the best of them.
“I have had several coaches compliment us on our team’s demeanor and how hard we play. We’re getting there – we really are.”