STC Girls Tennis opens season against Oskaloosa

Varsity debut for several members of the team

Adriana Cervantes - All photos by Steve Bearden

The South Tama County Girls Tennis Team had the honor of hosting the first dual meet at the newly renovated STC Tennis Complex when they faced Oskaloosa on Monday, April 11. The Trojans were challenged to shake off the rust and overcome the first meet of the season nerves. Oskaloosa tallied a 9-0 varsity win.

“No matter how you practice, you just can’t replicate the pressure athletes feel during a meet,” stated 15-year head coach Steve Bearden. Four of the six varsity players made their varsity debut during the contest. “I am very proud of how our team handled themselves tonight. The only way to overcome the nerves is to get out there and do it,” Bearden shared.

Seniors Adriana Cervantes and Grace Novotny led the team at #1 and #2 Singles respectfully. Cervantes battled Aubree Blanco while trying to find her form at #1. Cervantes improved throughout the match but ran out of time in a 3-8 loss. Novotny’s passion was evident in her match at #2 Singles against Lucy Roach. The final 8-0 score wasn’t reflective of Novotny’s effort. “Adriana and Grace are our leaders. They will face the best players from every team every night. Those are tough positions, but I’m confident they can lead us while relying on their experience,” Bearden said. Cervantes/Novotny teamed at #1 doubles to face Roach/Presley Blommers. The duo from Oskaloosa capitalized on excellent net play to record an 8-2 win.

Juniors Alondra Bolanos-Lupian and Kara Nachazel stepped up at #3 and #4 Singles. Bolanos-Lupian faced Blommers at #3 Singles. Blommers proved to be too consistent as she posted an 8-1 win for Oskaloosa. Nachazel’s opponent at #4 Singles, Haruna Mori, moved to the US two years ago from Japan. The two did battle in a match that lasted over an hour. In the end, Mori grabbed the match 8-4. Bolanos-Lupian/Nachazel faced Blanco/Mori at #2 Doubles. The two teams battled in a match that saw both teams grab the momentum at different times. In the end, the Oskaloosa team prevailed 8-4.

Freshmen Brooke Hitchcock and Hannah Houghton took to the court at #5 Singles and #6 Singles. “I am committed to giving these two young players the time to grow in the sport. I challenged them to convert their volleyball skills to the tennis court. I believe in them,” stated Bearden. Hitchcock recovered after falling behind 0-3 to Senior Abby Drost. As the match progressed, Hitchcock gained confidence and played her opponent virtually even. Drost grabbed the win 8-3, but Hitchcock gained a ton of experience. Houghton faced Senior Autumn DeRonde at #6 Singles. Houghton battled throughout the match, but DeRonde proved too experienced as she converted the win 8-1. Hitchcock/Houghton fell at #3 Doubles 0-8 to Drost/DeRonde. “I know they are going to take their lumps this season, but I believe in they will only thrive with the experience they gain. They are competitive and dedicated to getting better. I’m so proud of how they handled their fears tonight,” Bearden said.

Grace Novotny

The South Tama JV Team gained some good experience on the courts against Oskaloosa. Returners Jimena Nunez and Katie Husak led the way as they took to the courts in JV action. Emily Carnahan, Nevaeh Mathes, Madison Hitchcock, and Kylie Husak all made their debuts tonight as members of the STC Girls Tennis Team.

“It has been a difficult start to the season with some horrific weather. It has negatively impacted our preparation for the season Regardless, it’s time to compete. You only get better by playing. So- let’s play!” Bearden said.

The Trojans traveled next to Maquoketa on Tuesday, April 12 to face fellow WaMaC Conference member the Maquoketa Cardinals.


Kara Nachazel