For The Tribune
The Brownstown Central girls tennis team captured its first victory of the season by dominating Salem 4-1 on Thursday.
The Braves got two wins at singles and both doubles teams won their matches to seal the victory.
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Coach Erik Stangland said starting out on a positive note is what the team needed.
“For us it’s important because we usually only have a few games before we play the toughest team in the conference,” he said, referring to Silver Creek, who the Braves will face next week. “Coming out the gate that quick is difficult, but it’s great to get this first win.”
Laken Reynolds led the Braves at No. 1 singles by defeating Salem’s Makenzy Elgin 6-0, 6-1.
“She really did look good out there and controlled things,” Stangland said of Reynolds.
Olivia Hackman won 6-4, 6-0 against Salem’s Marissa Collins at the No. 2 singles spot.
“Olivia came back after struggling in the first set,” Stangland said. “That’s was great and helped.”
Riley Roberts wasn’t able to establish much of a rhythm and fell to Salem’s Kennedy Abner 6-1, 6-0.
The Braves’ No. 1 doubles team of Rachel Adkins and Carly Brown defeated Sami Albertson and Reagan Wade-Swift in a contested 6-3, 6-2 match.
At No. 1 doubles, the Braves’ duo of Sydney Cockerham and Claudia Sibrel defeated Natalie Baker and Gracie Rainbolt 6-4, 6-1.
“They came back in the second set and made it look better than the way it had been looking,” he said. “They were mentally tough.”
Stangland said he was happy to see the team come out strong after the team battled frustrating weather during spring practices.
“It’s been miserable,” he said. “We’ve had sleet on the courts and had to stop practicing because it was too slippery, we’ve had snow on the courts and had to play as it melted and have had to play inside a lot.”
When the team had to practice inside, they worked on angle shots, so the practices are still productive, he said.
“It’s not the same though,” he said. “They need to practice outside so they have a real feel for it.”
The team now has a more difficult looming in Silver Creek. The school has dominated tennis for years, Stangland said, and he wants his team to focus on fundamentals.
“I want to focus on form and ground strokes,” he said.
Stangland said communication will also be key for the team as they progress through the season.
“We’re getting there and I think this is probably one of our better teams to start the year,” he said.
The Braves will host Silver Creek on Monday.