By Justin Sokeland
BEDFORD – The wheels on the bus are going ’round and ’round. Faster and faster, as Bedford North Lawrence matures at high speed.
In tennis terms, the Stars are still freshmen, newbies in the new slang, after a year away from the courts. They played above their game age while winning their home opener on Tuesday afternoon.
BNL (1-1) didn’t drop a set and didn’t break much of a sweat while rolling to a 5–0 victory over Martinsville. BNL coach Joni Stigall, not sure what to expect when this season of mystery started, saw the signs of progress.
“They’re picking it up,” Stigall said. “They’re surprising me. I see it clicking, they’re starting to figure things out. I’m excited. This team is taking everything we teach them, and they’re using it. I”m really proud of them.”
After the virus wiped out the 2020 season, the Stars were starting from scratch, without veteran leadership and returning experience. They’re making up for lost time.
Rachel Kidd paced the sweep with a 6-0, 6-3 victory over Shelby Craig at No.1 singles, Emily Duncan bounced Erica Hedrick 6-2, 6-4 at No.2, and Becca Epping rebounded from a tough 3-set loss in the opener just 24 hours earlier to thump Alyssa McGauley 6-0, 6-1 at No.3.
“Becca has impressed me with the way she’s hitting the ball,” Stigall said. “I’m really happy with the way they’re playing. And we still have work to do.”
In doubles, Mallory Pride and Bella Stigall remained unbeaten with a 6-3, 6-1 triumph over Katie Fullerton and Lauren Leonard at No.1. If any court faces greater expectations, it’s on the top doubles.
“I expect that from them, and they know it,” Stigall said. “I‘m ready to see them against a tough team, to see how they do.”
Pride and Stigall are already a duo that’s ahead of the game.
“We’ve known each other our whole lives, so we talk really well and match up together,” Pride said. “I really missed it. We worked really hard to get back here.”
The Stars completed the sweep at No.2 doubles as Kenley Craig and Izzy Alldridge handled Sasha Brown and Eliza Ostler 6-1, 6-3.
BNL will return to action on Saturday at Paoli.
BNL 5, Martinsville 0
1 Rachel Kidd d. Shelby Craig 6-0, 6-3
2 Emily Duncan d. Erica Hedrick 6-2, 6-4
3 Becca Epping d. Alyssa McGauley 6-0, 6-1
1 Bella Stigall and Mallory Pride d. Katie Fullerton and Lauren Leonard 6-3, 6-1
2 Kenley Craig and Izzy Alldridge d. Sasha Brown and Eliza Ostler 6-1, 6-3