By AUSTIN COLBERT
Emily McPherson certainly enjoyed her time as the Hays High School girls' tennis team's No. 2 singles player in their opening meet Aug. 28 at Cimarron. And even though the senior cruised to a 4-0 record, she still asked first-year coach Bryce McClung if she could try her hand at doubles.
McClung was all for it, and paired McPherson with junior Fabi Pyschny, an exchange student from Stuttgart, Germany, for their lone home invitational Thursday.
"I really like singles, but in doubles I feel like Fabi and I make a good team," McPherson said. "We could probably go a little bit farther with doubles. I'm really hoping to go to state this year, so I really think if we stay with doubles it would be a good pair."
McPherson and Pyschny looked every bit like a duo with state potential, sleepwalking their way through the competition Thursday with a 4-0 mark (6-1, 6-0, 6-1, 6-1) as the Indians' No. 1 doubles team.
The results were so impressive that McClung isn't sure he will need to do any more experimenting to determine who plays as the team's top doubles pair the rest of the season.
"I just want to see what the best team is for varsity," McClung said. "Fabi and Emily destroyed as a doubles team. I don't think I'm going to change them too much. But yeah, I'm super happy with the results."
And it wasn't just McPherson and Pyschny that rolled through their competition. Junior Brooke Forinash, the team's No. 1 singles player and lone state qualifier from last season, remained perfect on the young season with another 4-0 (6-1, 6-1, 6-1, 6-1) outing Thursday at the Hays Municipal Park tennis courts.
Forinash won all four of her matches in Cimarron just as easily, 6-0, 6-1, 6-2 and 6-1. The only downside is she hasn't faced any opponent from a school larger than Class 4A this season, and is itching to face competition more comparable to what she saw in the Class 5A state tournament last year.
"I think that playing Salina and Great Bend and Garden City really help with your game. I think these games help you work on your comfort zone and try different things out, but they don't really test you and push you," Forinash said. "People are more confident in me and I have more confidence in myself this year just because of state. ... I think I am playing my own game."
Sophomore Sierra Brown went 1-3 (6-4, 2-6, 3-6, 2-6) as the team's No. 2 singles player, finishing fourth out of five players. She was part of the No. 2 doubles team with freshman Sarah Wyse at Cimarron, going 3-1.
Wyse paired with junior Sylina Zhang on Thursday as the Indians' No. 2 doubles team, going 3-1 (7-5, 6-2, 7-5, 4-6) to take second in the flight.
With 20 total points, Hays High was the first-place team, ahead of Victoria (14 points), Colby (12 points), Russell (nine points) and Norton (five points).
Victoria senior Maegan Karlin went 4-0 (6-1, 6-3, 6-0, 6-0) to win the No. 2 singles flight, and Colby's duo of Morgan Sanguinetti and Tresta Urban took first in the No. 2 doubles at 3-1 (6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4).
The competition will heat up for Hays High beginning Tuesday, when it travels to Great Bend for its first WAC action of the season.
"I'm still kind of working things out, but everything is good so far," McClung said of the team's two first-place finishes in two meets this season. "It's good to get wins, even if they are small wins. It's good to get them and give the girls some confidence."