Seeking momentum

Western Hills, Frankfort High girls looking to be on upswing for regionals

By Nate Parsons Published:

Right now, Western Hills and Frankfort are after the same objective: gaining momentum heading into regional play.

Despite losing No. 1 singles, WHHS beat FHS 4-1 Monday night on FHS’ brand new courts.

The 2014 8th Region Tournament begins in two weeks for both the Lady Wolverines (6-5) and the Lady Panthers (0-8) at WHHS.

“It’s taken awhile to find out where people would play,” WHHS coach Lucy Rini said.

“We’re competitive. ... We’re right in the mix.”

While the Lady Wolverines are above the .500 mark heading into the final few matches, the Lady Panthers are struggling — but that hasn’t deterred them.

“A lot of youth on our team. ... I feel like they’re starting to gel more as they get closer to regionals,” FHS coach Sherrill Smith said, with assistant coach Cindy Bramble adding: “We’re making progress every match that we are playing.”

“With so many young kids, this season we’re looking at it as a rebuilding year — everything else is just kind of icing on the cake. If we pick up a win that’s great, that’s what we’re hoping for,” Smith added. “What we’re trying to do is get the kids to understand the game and develop a life-long game they can play.”

FHS’ only win of the night came when senior Emily Ballentyne cruised by sixth-grader Grace Neal 6-2, 6-1 in the top singles match.

“I felt like Emily did a good job of keeping the ball in,” Smith said of Ballentyne, who improved to 5-3 on the season. “The young lady she played against was very strong for a young player.

“As we’re getting closer to regionals I want her to be challenged more and more.”

Rini said Neal usually plays in the No. 2 or 3 spot, but was moved up for this match.

“Grace hung in there as a sixth-grader,” Rini said. “Emily is a great opponent.”

While the Lady Panthers got a win by Ballantyne, the Lady Wolverines were perfect in the other two singles matches.

WHHS swept second and third singles without losing a single game, as junior Diana Rudic beat seventh-grader Erin McQueen and seventh-grader Deepshikha Bassetti took down seventh-grader Kristina Avery.

“Solid. I expect that,” Rini said.

It was more of the same at doubles, as the Lady Wolverines lost just five games overall. In No. 1 doubles, juniors Courtnie Carr and Courtney Woodyard won 6-0, 6-3 over eighth-grader Caroline Bramble and senior Sierra Demers, while sophomores Kelsi Sheets and Rachael Hudson downed junior Jayne Yocum and eighth-grader Grace Yocum 6-1, 6-1 in the No. 2 doubles match.

“Doubles were strong today,” Rini said. “My No. 2 doubles are new to tennis this year. I put them in at JV a few matches and now they’re playing a strong No. 2 varsity doubles.”

FHS is at Collins Wednesday at 4:30 p.m., while WHHS hosts Bullitt East Thursday at 4:30 p.m.

To see more photos from this match, click here.

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