ANDERSON — Even in the first match of the season with her doubles partner junior Allie Hueston, Alexandria sophomore Abbie Miller knew she and her teammate were in for a special season.
The two had been paired together the season before during Miller’s freshman season and her first year playing tennis, advancing to the first round of the regionals with their Tiger teammates before bowing out.
But with the help of playing together more in the summer and an intense winter conditioning program, the doubles tandem was more prepared to make a deeper run into the state tournament this spring.
“I think that at the beginning of the season when we first came off and we played our first match, we both walked off the court, and we both realized that we had been working hard, and it was going to pay off,” Miller said. “We were connecting a lot better, and it just helped throughout the season.”
Alexandria girls’ tennis coach Matt DeVault said that he could tell early on that his girls were much tougher and battle-tested than they had been last season as they tried to learn each other’s game and play as a team instead of two separate girls on the court.
The pair’s accomplishments earned them the HB’s Players of the Year for girls tennis.
During the Delta Eight Team Invitational on April 27, Miller and Hueston pulled off two tough victories that DeVault said last year the girls wouldn’t have been able to clinch.
Against a state-ranked Fort Wayne Carroll doubles team, Miller and Hueston managed to grind out the match for the Tigers’ sole point in a 4-1 loss to the Chargers. Against a Batesville doubles team in their third match of the day, Alexandria’s No. 1 doubles team battled back from early deficits in two sets to push both to tiebreakers, winning both and adding one point in a 3-2 loss to the Bulldogs.