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February 28, 2014

Tennis looks for continued success

DUNCAN — The 2013 season was one the Duncan girls tennis team will never forget, as the team won the Class 5A state championship.

“It was indescribable,” said junior Alex Bowers. “It was so cool to see coach (Phil) Barnes’ reaction.”

Senior teammate Sydney Hendricks said the Demons didn’t even expect the high seeding they received.

“It felt like we were winning something every day because we were so successful,” she said.

The two, along with juniors Carly Kirkland and Marisa Moore, return to a squad that  had state finalists in the two singles and two doubles divisions, the first time Duncan girls tennis accomplished that.

Coach Phil Barnes said the girls may have been making headlines in recent seasons, but the boys have been successful in their own right.

“The kids here have a lot of tradition,” Barnes said. “They come up from the junior high expecting to be good. They expect to win and I expect to win.”

Barnes expects senior Aubrey Mouser, sophomores Jordan Claussen and Paityn Bower, and freshman Mackenzie Rains to round out the lineup.

“We will do whatever we think gives us our best chance to place high,” he said.

The girls will play in a national tournament in Louisville, Ky., March 21-22. The girls will also attend the state Tournament of Champions at Heritage Hall March 29. They got invitations to because of the state title win last year.

The boys won regionals last year. Seniors Ryan Robinson and Andre Vuong believe the experience the boys have will help

“We’re all seniors,” Vuong said. “We know there’s a lot of pressure but I think we are confident enough to go play well and strive for state.”

The duo placed sixth in state doubles last season. Joining them are seniors Cameron McCasland, Sam Moffatt, Sam Allen, Noah Jones and Alan Hruby. Sophomore Hayden Pettigrew rounds out the top eight.

Vuong and Robinson will continue playing together, but most of the lineup spots are up for grabs, Barnes said

“I think we will be a top 10 team,” Barnes said. “The seniors have been with the varsity team since they were sophomores. It’s their time now.”

Robinson said the team has its sights set on winning regionals again. “That’s our main goal,” he said.

Duncan opens its season March 1, hosting the J.C. Perkins tournament. Other tournaments Duncan will host are a JV tournament March 13, the Southern Oklahoma Invitational April 11 and the BancFirst Tournament April 18-19.

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