Girls’ tennis competes at State

Taylor Hansen serves at Regionals.

Taylor Hansen serves at Regionals.

Sydney Hoover, Associate Editor

On Oct. 16-17, the De Soto High School girls’ tennis team competed in the State tennis meet. The team had not had any State qualifiers in several years, but this year senior double team Taylor Hansen and Olivia Young and senior Jamie Kieffer qualified for State.
“It’s always a great feeling when you have kids qualify for state because you know they’ve worked hard. For me, watching them have success and qualify for state and go and compete … there’s no better feeling,” said head coach Justin Hoffman.
Although neither the doubles team nor Kieffer were able to place at State, Hoffman believes they performed well.
“I thought they played really well. In Taylor and Liv’s case, the two teams that they played that beat them both medaled. So, it’s not like they got beat by a team that didn’t turn around and have a lot of success,” Hoffman said. “Jamie had a tough draw as a six seed, which is tough, but she played pretty well in her first match. In her second match, after a four or five hour delay, it was hard to get going. She battled her best and it was fun to watch them compete at State.”
The girls all agree the experience was a good one.
“It definitely felt worth it. We’ve been working for four years, Taylor and I have,” Young said. “I know Jamie has been working pretty hard this year. It was just really cool for all our seniors, since we’ve been here all four years, to get to State.”
With all the State qualifiers being seniors, the tournament was an emotional one for both the players and coaches.
“I’m really sad that it’s over. There were a lot of tears shed, but it was fun while it lasted. I’m glad that I stuck to it all four years,” Hansen said.
For Hoffman, seeing the seniors go has always been hard, but this year has been tougher than most.
“These three it will be especially hard because they were freshmen my first year. They’re the first ones to go all the way with me as their coach,” Hoffman said.
However, Hoffman is excited for the years to come for the team.
“[I hope to] just continue to play well, to play in the off season. Every year brings new challenges and it’s hard to anticipate what they’ll be. We’ll keep working, doing what we do, and see how it falls out,” Hoffman said.
Ending the season on a high note, the girls are happy how their final season on the DHS tennis team went.
“Overall, even though we didn’t place or get a medal, it was some of the best teams we’ve played. We played really hard … it was a very fun experience,” Hansen said.