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April 25, 2014

Tennis teams head for Ardmore

DUNCAN — The Duncan tennis teams have just a couple of weeks left before the regional tournaments Duncan will host.

The Demons will look for further improvement at tournaments in Ardmore this weekend. The boys play Friday and the girls play Saturday.

Duncan coach Phil Barnes doesn’t expect the field to be as strong as the one at the BancFirst tournament in Duncan last week. But with teams such as Heritage Hall, Ada, Norman High and Norman North attending, there will be plenty of good competition.

Not all of the girls will attend this weekend’s tourneys because of other commitments, but Barnes likes that other players will get a chance to play.

“Sometimes, in the spring, you have trouble getting everyone together, but the girls have been playing good every time,” he said.

He and junior Carly Kirkland praised freshman Mackenzie Rains, who has played many matches against varsity competition and seen success.

“It shows she’s willing to put in the work to get better,” Kirkland said. “And it’s great for the future of our team, too. It shows we have a strong program.”

The boys will have an adjustment to their lineup as well. Sam Allen, who usually teams with Cameron McCasland at No. 2 doubles, will play singles instead. Barnes said this will give Allen more chances at the ball and he expects he will do well.

McCasland is glad to see some of the younger players stepping into the lineup when needed. Sophomore Hayden Pettigrew has been a key singles player and several freshmen have filled in as needed. That helps, McCasland said, because five of the top six players will graduate in May.

“From the start of the season until now, (the younger players) have been tremendous,” McCasland said.

Barnes was pleased with how the teams performed at the BancFirst tournament last week. Now the focus is on getting better.

“We’ve laid the foundation,” Barnes said. “Now it’s a matter of improving what we are doing.”

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