Soggy conditions made for difficult play for Indian River this past Tuesday as they narrowly gave up their first game of the season to Lake Forest, 3-2. Standing water to contend with on a few of the courts eventually progressed into periodic sprinkles, then full-on showers for the athletes.
Early wins from the Indians’ second-doubles and first-singles teams were not quite enough to fend off the Spartans. The discouraging loss was unforeseen, as the Indians had pulled off two wins last year at both matches against Lake Forest. Experience may have been on Lake Forest’s side, however, as Indian River’s roster contains not one senior this year.
Second-doubles partners Casey Hull and Nicole Lord tallied the first win of the day for the Lady Indians, outscoring their opponents, 6-4, 6-0. Ward was moved up to the position that very day, proving she can work well, even in transition.
Junior and three-year starter Ramsey Ruether, finished her first-singles match 6-2, 6-2, adjusting well to the damp conditions.
“My main focus,” she said, “especially once it started raining, was ball movement.”
Ruether and the Hull/Ward duo were the only ones to finish on top.
On the lighter side, IR’s exhibition doubles teams pulled out impressive performances, which may quite possibly yield some position alterations later in the season.
“It’s reassuring to know the girls can play strong through the lineup,” said Indian River head coach Karen Oliphant.
Kayla Blake, who had proven herself at a doubles position previously, was moved up to third-singles for Tuesday’s match. Jocelyn Hazzard debuted at the second-singles spot, a position left last year by senior Erica Evans. Brittany Baker and Katie Farber returned for the opener, once again, as first-doubles partners, but as Oliphant noted, some changes may be in store.
“It’s hard for them not to blame today’s performance on the rain,” said Oliphant. “But, hopefully, we can turn it around by the Seaford match. We have to look at how we played, and they need to ask themselves what can they do better and what needs to change before we go back out on the courts on Thursday.”
Thursday’s match at Seaford (after Coastal Point deadline) was expected to test the Indians as they sacrificed two losses to the team last year. Racquets will continue swinging for the ladies next week with matches at Milford on Monday, and then hosting Cape Henlopen and Smyrna on Wednesday and Friday, respectively. All games are scheduled for 4 p.m.