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Playing above their expectations

East Lincoln Lady Mustangs
finish third despite losing six seniors

All coaches in any sport want to win, but to East Lincoln Lady Mustangs’ coach Kathy Anderson enjoyment and individual improvement should also be at the forefront.
Maybe her unique approach helped lead the Lady Mustangs to a 7-5 overall record with a third place finish in the Big South 3A at 5-2.
“I’m thrilled. I’m so proud of my girls. They went out there and were relaxed every match. When you’re relaxed, you tend to do better and that’s what they did. There weren’t as many expectations this year compared to last year but they still finished third,” Anderson said explaining their finishing third.
The Mustangs were led by senior Siri Jones. Anderson believes it’s her resiliency that makes her so successful.
“She brings the fact that she’s like a backboard the ball is always coming back. She makes her opponent hit
winners,” she said.
Jones not only brings a never-say-die attitude to the court, but also solid leadership to an otherwise young team.
“She is an excellent team captain. I never have to ask her to do anything, she does it without being told.
She sets a high bar for the other girls to follow,” Anderson said.
An up-and-coming player is freshman Candace Hall the No. 2 seed for the Mustangs. Anderson believes her potential is limitless.
“She just has a wealth of talent. Once she learns how to really play the game, she`s going to be a force.”
East Lincoln tennis is in a rebuilding phase having six seniors graduate from last season. Some players that are freshmen, sophomores and juniors have just started playing the game.
Maybe that youth is what allows Anderson to hone in on improvement as much as she does as opposed to just wanting to win.
“I see improvement every week and I`m just pleased to see them out there learning the game, enjoying the
game and learning how to compete. So I`m looking forward to see how much they improve before next
year,” Anderson said.
Madeline Jones, is Siri’s little sister and, brings the same type of competitive spirit to the court.
“She is a strong competitor already as the No. 3 seed. I see a really bright future for her,” Anderson said.
On any level, coaches and players tend to become too wrapped up in just winning. Anderson’s approach, while refreshing, she doesn’t want people to mistake her to desire to win.
“I look to win every match, but the most important thing truly is how they play game. I`m more interested in them improving their skills and their sportsmanship,” she said.
Courtney Feldon, the No. 4 seed, just began playing tennis but Anderson calls her ‘a natural athlete’ who has a lot of potential.
The No. 5 seed Laura Estridge has earned a nickname because of her penchant of going to the net.
“She is my most aggressive net player. We call her net woman because she loves to get to that net and finish
the point,” Anderson said.
Kristin Parker, who like teammate Feldon, just started playing.
“She`s improved by leaps and bounds. She impresses me every week how much she gets better week-by-week,” her coach said.
Maria Robledo, Caitlin Kreshon and Mandy Worth are trying to work their way into next season’s top six seeds.
“They`ve impressed me how much they`ve already improved and how hard they work to get better,” Anderson said.

by John Mark Brooks

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