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FHSU tennis picks up win

By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

Last weekend, the Fort Hays State University tennis team lost 9-0 to NCAA Division I Air Force and 9-0 to Division II University of Texas-Permian Basin. Then the Tigers, a retooled team with two returning starters in juniors Camille Caron-Bedard and Brittney Ricci, four freshmen and a junior college player, defeated Colorado State Pueblo 5-4.

"I think it really brought the team together," coach Brian Flax said.

Junior Michelle Miller won at No. 3 singles in the day's final matchup with a 10-8 win in the third set and the Tigers rushed the court. The team had a four and a half hour match for the victory and left Colorado Springs at midnight. FHSU arrived back in Hays around 5:30 a.m. Flax called it one of the most exciting matches he has been involved with.

"It was a great experience for those young kids to know that this is what college tennis and college sports is all about," Flax said.

On Wednesday, FHSU moved to 2-2 with a 9-0 home victory against Kansas Wesleyan in the first action in Hays. The Tigers didn't drop a set.

"I saw a lot of improvement, less mistakes," Flax said. "That was the main thing. A lot of our games were a lot cleaner than what we were out at Colorado, so it was a good thing to see."

Caron-Bedard and Ricci won 8-0 at doubles, while Caron-Bedard won 6-1, 6-1 at No. 1 singles and Ricci collected a 6-0, 6-1 victory at No. 2 singles.

Miller and freshman McKenzie Haynes won easily at No. 2 doubles, 8-2.

"I thought we played well today," Flax said.

The roster is still unsettled. Miller and Haynes will likely play No. 3 doubles, but freshman Katie Hipp isn't cleared because of a transcript issue. Hipp, from Central Plains, took some classes at Barton County Community College.

She received dual credit and the high school sent in her transcript.

The clearinghouse has the high school transcript, but not the college one.

While each one says the same thing, the clearinghouse needs both the high school and college transcripts. Hipp hasn't been able to play and Flax wants to get it straightened out by next Thursday when the Tigers host Hastings (Neb.) College.

"Usually, it's not this difficult," Flax said.

This weekend, Caron-Bedard and Ricci will play at the ITA Regionals in Springfield, Mo., an important event that helps with regional seedings. Both players will be in singles and doubles play.

"I am excited about this group," Flax said.