In the season opener for the Benton High School girls tennis team last week against Carmi-White County, senior Jordan Eickelman was staring defeat in the face in her singles match.
But after some sage words from her coach (Alyssa Williams), she dug deep to turn it around for the win.
The Rangerettes beat the Lady Bulldogs, 8-1, and will host Salem this week before participating in the Edwardsville Invitational Friday and Saturday.
Eickelman, Macy Shelton and Kaitlyn Younger were members of the first team back when the program was reinstated three years ago and are now the three seniors leading a young team.
Eickelman began the match winning No. 3 doubles with Shelton, dropping the first set, but bouncing back to capture the last two sets.
"Macy is super good at the net and I have some really good ground strokes," Eickelman said. "This is the third year Macy and I have played doubles. We played our freshman and sophomore year and I'm glad to have her as a partner again. Last year, I teamed with Taylor Moore and we were also pretty good. At sectionals, we were one match off advancing to state."
At No. 5 singles, Eickelman fell behind 7-4 and faced a 40-0 score in the 12th game. She realized she needed to do something different and her coach agreed.
"Coach told me several times I had to stop making silly mistakes and play one point at a time and basically that's what I did," Eickelman said.
Once the conference was over, it was like a light bulb had gone off. The BHS senior ended up rallying to not only win the game, but win the next five games for a 10-7 win.
"I was getting too anxious hitting the ball into the net or in the doubles alley, so I calmed down, hit my shots easy and that's what got me through it to win that game, and from there, won all the others rather easily," Eickelman said.
The Rangerettes completely dominated the match with the only loss coming at No. 2 doubles (Moore and Molly Goostree) in a tiebreaker.
The No. 1 doubles team of Younger and Madison Kriener opened the match with a 10-4 win.
In singles play, Moore at No. 1, played her second tiebreaker of the match, but this time instead of losing 7-2, skunked her opponent, 7-0.
Younger won 10-5 at No. 2 singles, Kriener won No. 3 at 10-5, Goostree rebounded to win at No. 4 by the score of 10-1, and at No. 6, Shelton won 10-5.