The Herald Bulletin

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Sports

September 23, 2013

Eagles' teamwork paying off on the court

(Continued)

As the players’ mentality changed to one of winning, the records began to reflect the transformation. With the wins mounting, the attitude surrounding the program changed and the confidence grew.

“The first year we were just happy to win one (match),” Sanders said. “The next year we started to believe we could beat some people, to now we go out and expect to win. Changing that whole mentality was a huge hurdle."

The confidence Sanders likes to see in his players may be no more prevalent than that of junior Conner Bates who is 15-0 as the Eagles' No. 3 singles player, the same position he played as a sophomore.

“It has put a lot of pressure on me,” Bates said of being undefeated. “I am playing some pretty tough competition. I just have to go out there and play hard and play my best.”

His best is a big factor for the Eagles' success, as three of the Eagles' victories were by one point. Those results are why Sanders said a team needs depth to be able to be successful.

“Most people think that having a strong No. 1 wins you a lot of matches,” Sanders said. “What really wins you a lot of matches is having a really strong three singles and two doubles.”

While tennis is thought of as an individual sport, there is nothing individual about the Eagles.

“Everybody works well together (in practice),” senior Aaron Korn said. “Everybody tries to make everybody else better and supports each other.”

Korn, the Eagles' No. 2 singles players, is 14-1 thus far with his only loss coming in a three-set match in the team’s only loss against Pendleton Heights.

Where the team aspect really takes hold is in doubles matches.

Sanders said he has seen doubles teams begin getting down when one of the team members misses a shot or has an error. That is not a concern as he points out that both of his doubles teams had friendships before they became playing partners.

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