Friendly match preps players for District tournament

Published 11:25 am Tuesday, April 2, 2024

BROOKHAVEN — West Lincoln and Brookhaven Academy met in a friendly competition Monday evening prior to district tournaments later this week and next Monday. Girls singles players Chloe Sterling and Taylor Douglas were the final players left on the court. 

Sterling, a sophomore at West Lincoln, and Douglas, a junior at Brookhaven Academy, tried to knock off any rust following Easter weekend. The single girls players will each be hoping to advance to their respective state championships. 

West Lincoln competes in the MHSAA Class 1 Region 7 while Brookhaven Academy is in the MAIS 5A District 3. The MHSAA Class 1 Region 7 district tournament will be Friday at 9 a.m. at the Clubs at Ole Brook. Sterling is ready. 

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“I hope I win but I know I have some competition this year,” she said. 

Her competition is Loyd Star junior Ady Locke. The two are friends and even train together in the off-season. Locke played mixed doubles last year and lost in the state tournament. 

Sterling said she knows Locke is out for vengeance this year and is looking to qualify in girls singles. The close relationship could make things interesting if they meet in the district tournament or at state. 

“She is my best friend and we train together a lot. It helps us both know what they can do and can’t do,” Sterling said. “We are on the same level with tennis. It will be a good match. Only the top two players go from girls singles so we could both go.” 

Sterling’s mom Idalia Sterling, West Lincoln’s head coach, said her daughter has grown in ability and height. Sterling worked hard over the summer on her game and it can be seen in her game. She was a solid player last year already. 

“Not everyone is perfect so you have to keep working at it. Tennis is a sport which requires a lot of dedication and throughout the week you have to keep working,” Sterling said. “You have to have self discipline. It is all mental. You have to have the right mindset to win.” 

Her mental game has improved in a few ways. She is more mature, understands how she needs to play to win and little tactical approaches. Sportsmanship is another thing she has continued to develop. 

Sterling said she learned there is no need to be ruthless on the court. Her mindset going into district is to win, be nice and encourage others to have a great game. One way she put her words into action was offering Douglas a hug after their match. 

Douglas said she was having a rough day, the ball wasn’t bouncing right or a gust of wind would work against her. 

“Sometimes you need it. You need a good hug and that is what she gave me. I liked it a lot,” Douglas said. “I’m hoping to get to district and have the tough match focus. I’m telling myself to suck it up and try your hardest.” 

Her tennis career started when she was in third grade. Douglas wanted to try a new sport and her mom suggested tennis. The game stuck and she has played it ever since. 

“It is a sport no one really talks about. People care a lot about football but Tennis is different. It is not the focus,” she said. 

Brookhaven Academy will play their district tournament next Monday. Douglas is ready although who she will play first is uncertain. 

“District is challenging. There are players who play like you or play completely different. You don’t know until you get there,” Douglas said. “The match today prepared me to keep my composure. Don’t let your anger get out.”