Metamora tennis

Tom Batters
Taylor Koehrsen

A stark contrast in style was on display at the Metamora High School tennis courts Sept. 21.

Metamora senior Taylor Koehrsen was cool and calm.

Even when she missed an easy shot, she just sauntered back to the baseline to take her position. Then, she nailed that same shot even harder. This time it zipped along the line for a point.

Her opponent, Washington senior Catrina Hollaway, talked to herself, pumped her fist, and strutted along the baseline.

“You’re not listening,” she muttered whenever she apparently thought she was not listening to herself. “Come on, you can take her. You know it.”

Koehrsen won the match, 6-3, 6-1.

There was no fist pump, or even the slightest sign of celebration. She just walked to the net to congratulate Hollaway, then walked out of the gate to get a drink of Gatorade.

But, winning a big singles match is nothing new to Koehrsen, the two-time defending singles Sectional champion who coach Brad Boeker called, “the best player in this area, by far.”

She teamed up with junior Laurel Christ the next day (the match was suspended due to bad weather) to win in No. 1 doubles and clinch the 7-2 victory for the Redbirds.

“Taylor is such a fierce competitor, and she doesn’t let anything get her flustered,” Boeker said. “When I first saw her play a few years ago, I wasn’t sure what to make of her lack of emotion on the court. I wasn’t sure what was going through her head. But, now I know that she is all business out there. I don’t ever need to worry about her focus and her intensity.”

Koehrsen said she thought Hollaway’s antics were “amusing.”

“She’s always been that way. But she’s a very good player — one of the best players in the conference,” Koehrsen said. “I just focused on the match. I didn’t let anything else distract me.”

On the adjacent court, Metamora junior Megan Nguyen showed the same resolve.

In her No. 2 singles match, she trailed Washington junior Chandler Duchaine 4-3 in the first set, but came back to win 6-3. She won the second set easily, 6-1.

“She (Duchaine) was a good hitter, and the wind was making the ball move all over the place, but I couldn’t let that get to me,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen used a dominant serve to get back into the match and close it out in the second set.

“Megan is making a name for herself,” Boeker said. “When you have a serve like that, then you are already at a big advantage over your opponent.”

Christ defeated Katie Vroman, 6-1, 6-3, in No. 3 singles.

“Laurel has become very reliable at that No. 3 spot,” Boeker said. “Before we played Morton, their coach said he knew they were going to lose at the top three spots against us. That tells me that Laurel is getting a good reputation around the conference.”

Metamora junior Kristin Anglin won in No. 5 singles.

“Kristin has been so consistent, and that’s all you can ask for at the No. 5 spot,” Boeker said. “Just get the ball in the court and play consistent. You don’t have to be overpowering.”

Metamora senior Sam O’Neil lost in three sets in the most exciting match of the day.

With the winds gusting and darkness setting in, O’Neil battled Washington’s Maura O’Brien to a back-and-forth third set, before losing, 7-5.

Metamora led, 4-2, after singles when play was suspended due to bad weather.

The next day, the Redbirds won all three doubles matches.

Koehrsen and Christ clinched the victory with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Duchaine and Vroman.

Nguyen and junior Brittany Brinkman beat Hollaway and Paige Marchini, 6-4, 6-4. Anglin and O’Neil beat Vanessa Doty and Megan Ernst, 6-2, 6-1.

The Redbirds, who beat Morton, 5-4, Sept. 14, are now the only unbeaten team in the Mid-Illini Conference (results of yesterday’s match against Limestone were not available).

Metamora wrapped up the regular season conference lead, heading into the conference tournament, which is Oct. 9 at Washington.

“That was a good win for us,” Boeker said. “Coach (Jim) Witt is a friend of mine, and I have a lot of respect for where he has taken that program. They got our attention. They will be a tough team in the tournament.”

• Metamora hosts U-High at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday (Sept. 29) for Senior night. Koehrsen, O’Neil, Brittany Clasen and Dayne Nelson will be honored after the match.