Despite week's record, Lady Bearcats continue to improve

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By John Herndon

SHELBYVILLE - The scorecard indicated Shelby County had put up a decisive girls' tennis victory over Anderson County Thursday afternoon. The Lady Rockets won four of the five varsity matches in straight sets, including a pair of 6-0 scores and three more that went 6-1.

But this was one time that the scorecard did not tell all of the story, according to Anderson coach Catina Sims. "The last time, they beat us 5-0," she said. "Today, we won at no. 1 doubles and some of the matches were very close."

The doubles team of Jennifer Hoskins and Olivia Woodrum scored Anderson's only win, defeating the Shelby team of Keri Schreiner and Caitlyn Driver in successive 6-4 sets.

"They complement each other very well," said Sims, who paired the seniors less than a month ago. Hoskins had been playing singles, but Sims switched her with Woodrum's earlier partner, Mary Ellen Stratton. It was a move that has been good for both.

Hoskins and Woodrum had beaten a very good tandem from Bullitt East two days before and found the mettle to outlast Shelby's top doubles' team with solid play, knowing each other's strengths and weaknesses and strong communication.

"We work together well," said Woodrum. "She is really good on the baseline and I like to play at the net."

"Her strengths are my weaknesses," Hoskins added.

That was apparent Thursday as the Shelby team could never get any kind of momentum going. Woodrum thwarted several good shots with nice plays at the net and Hoskins was consistent with her ground strokes throughout.

However, they were not able to put the Shelby team away, as the 6-4 scores suggest. "Nearly every game was close," Woodrum said.

That was also the case at the top singles match, where Shelby's Kayla Pilcher outlasted Stratton.

The first set went to a tie-breaker then Pilcher won the second set, but all nine games in that set were close with many going to deuce.

"That was a very close match," Sims noted.

Anderson's Kristen Hamrick, a sophomore playing tennis for the first time, played well but ran into one of the state's best young players.

Shelby's Paige Kregal, a seventh-grader ranked in the state's top 12-and-under players, according to Sims, defeated Hamrick 6-0, 6-1.

Two days earlier, visiting Bullitt East swept the singles matches, but Anderson took both doubles against Bullitt East.

Woodrum and Hoskins won going away, 7-5, 6-0 while Hamrick put together what Sims called "a nice showing" against Bullitt East.

"Bullitt East has a really nice team," Sims said. "I thought our kids did great against them."