www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Graham enjoying KU life -1/28/2015, 11:03 AM

Mountaineers take down Wildcats -1/28/2015, 11:03 AM

Tuesday's area prep basketball boxscores -1/28/2015, 11:03 AM

Belichick, Patriots focused solely on Seattle, Super Bowl -1/28/2015, 11:02 AM

MVC strong at the top -1/28/2015, 11:02 AM

Former Tiger, HHS coach named new FB coach at Mac -1/27/2015, 6:57 PM

Tiger women vault to No. 6 in poll -1/27/2015, 2:39 PM

James Shields remains a free agent, but Royals 'not sure there's a fit' -1/27/2015, 10:17 AM

Pats' owner defends Belichick, Brady -1/27/2015, 10:17 AM

Alexander newcomer of the week -1/27/2015, 10:17 AM

KSU's Edwards finding success as the sixth man -1/27/2015, 10:17 AM

FHSU wins Kansas Cup after scoring error -1/27/2015, 10:17 AM

FHSU wrestling takes second in Kansas Cup -1/26/2015, 10:27 AM

WSU baseball starts second season under Butler -1/26/2015, 10:36 AM

No. 14 WSU hammers Drake -1/26/2015, 10:37 AM

Stafford named Offensive MVP in first Pro Bowl -1/26/2015, 10:27 AM

TMP boys, girls claim MCL title; HHS boys fall -1/26/2015, 10:27 AM

Brand tops Deterding in Bob Kuhn Classic -1/25/2015, 8:41 PM

Tiger wrestling falls short of No. 3 UNK -1/25/2015, 8:41 PM

No. 17 Tigers dominate No. 4 Pitt State -1/25/2015, 8:41 PM

FHSU men fall short of Pitt State -1/25/2015, 8:41 PM

Friday's area prep basketball boxscores -1/25/2015, 2:45 PM

-1/25/2015, 2:00 PM

TMP girls use overtime for semifinal win -1/24/2015, 3:13 PM

Young key in Indians' semifinal win -1/24/2015, 1:22 PM

Defense lifts TMP boys to MCL title game -1/24/2015, 12:27 PM

HHS wrestling picks up dual win -1/23/2015, 10:31 AM

Finney takes step toward NFL -1/23/2015, 10:31 AM

Indians pick up first-round win -1/23/2015, 10:22 AM

K-State agrees to series with Vandy -1/23/2015, 10:13 AM

Tiger women win 16th straight -- Pitt State next -1/23/2015, 10:13 AM

Huge second half fuels Tigers -1/23/2015, 10:13 AM

Shockers roll past Missouri State -1/22/2015, 10:14 AM

KSU at Sporting Park? -1/22/2015, 10:14 AM

GCCC women's team involved in crash -1/22/2015, 10:14 AM

Tiger wrestling wins at home -1/22/2015, 10:33 AM

Sports Scores

Tuesday

Prep basketball

Boys

Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

Click To View All


myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Tiger tennis loses twice, enjoying solid year

Published on -3/31/2013, 9:01 PM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

Fort Hays State University senior tennis player Melissa Skovira said looking back to her freshman year, her team has made a 180-degree turn.

FHSU, which previously resided near the bottom of the conference since joining the Mid-America Intercollegiate Association in 2006, has since made up some of the gap on some of the more competitive teams in the league.

The Tigers (8-5, 2-3 MIAA) have a winning record and are in the middle of the conference scrum.

"It's incredible. We are so dedicated and hard working," Skovira said. "This team wants to win. My other teams were obviously awesome and had great spirits, but here, it is so competitive. It's awesome. That's why we are winning more matches."

However, this weekend, they saw firsthand they still have room to improve to catch up to the top teams. The University of Central Oklahoma and Northeastern State University, No. 2 and No. 3 in the MIAA, came to Hays and defeated FHSU by 8-1 and 9-0 margins Friday and Saturday at the Tiger Courts, respectively.

Nevertheless, Skovira said the Tigers are hungry to win.

Teams that used to crush FHSU are now beatable in their eyes.

"Emporia just beat Missouri Western 7-2, and we killed Missouri Western 9-0," Skovira said. "Instantly in our heads, we think we totally can beat Emporia. ... I think we are very hungry, and we really want to win."

On Friday, Skovira saw her own improvement firsthand when her and sophomore Brittney Ricci knocked off Central Oklahoma's No. 1 doubles team, ranked fifth in the Central Region, 8-6.

"Even last year, Britney and I lost our doubles match to Central Oklahoma probably in 15 to 20 minutes. It was so embarrassing," Skovira said. "... Here, we are down and we started playing out of minds, and we realized we can do this. We are just as good as them. We need to get it in our heads first. We need to believe we can win, and then we'll win."

Skovira credited the coaching for their improved play. Brian Flax has been a longtime fixture at FHSU, taking over the head coach position 16 years ago, but he's also received help from former assistant coach Oscar Gomez and current assistant coach Andres Torres.

"Our shots are improving," Skovira said. "We are mixing it up now. Everyone was such hard hitters my freshmen year. That's all we knew. Now we are using top spin, slice and we are coming up to net."

Flax said the program received a boost from a $2 student fee increase that was passed through a student referendum in 2011. He said the fee revenue has helped the athletic department cover expenses and open more of its budget for athletic scholarships.

"I think things started to turn when that student fee went through," Flax said. "You have more scholarships to give out and get better players. All of a sudden, good players who were having to play at the top of lineup are now playing in the middle and having a lot more success."

That success was seen firsthand by players. Laura Johnson, now a senior, might be the perfect example.

She has seen a drastic increase in wins. Her freshman year, she played No. 1 and No. 2 singles. Now she mostly plays No. 5 singles, and she's improved from a 2-16 freshman season, to a 4-16 sophomore season, to a 7-12 junior season and is 9-6 so far this year.

"Laura is a hard worker," Flax said. "She works very hard on her technique."

If she doesn't get it, she has been willing to put in the time to get it," Flax added.

It's not just Johnson, either. The entire roster has seen a similar improvement.

The Tigers won 38 percent of their singles matches four years ago, 39 percent three years ago, 57 percent last year and 59 percent so far this year.

"There's a lot more depth," Skovira said. "During practice, you can get beat by the No. 1 girl, No. 2 girl or No. 6 girl on the team.

"The entire day, you have to be on your toes. We are all so evenly matched."

With the meat of their schedule remaining against some of the middle-tier teams, Flax said his squad is hoping to prove it deserves to be in the thick of things in the MIAA.

"That's next rung we are trying to get to," Flax said. "We are wanting to get to the Washburns, the Emporias, that level.

"We've moved out of the bottom and haven't been there for a couple years. Now, we are trying to climb to the next rung."

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos

AP Breaking News