By Justin Sokeland
BEDFORD – With four starting spots returning intact, Bedford North Lawrence is poised for success. The question is not necessarily how many, but how. Keep that lineup intact, simply sliding in a missing link to complete the expected look, or tinkering for a new picture with the same pieces?
BNL coach Joni Stigall will work on that puzzle. Whatever the final format, the Stars look strong.
Assuming the first option of status quo, BNL will feature two powerful doubles duos as the foundation for the 2022 campaign. Mallory Pride and Bella Stigall, now juniors, were a force at No.1 last season, posting a 15-3 record while earning First Team honors in the Hoosier Hills Conference. Kenley Craig and Izzy Alldredge worked into a solid combination at No.2.
“Those doubles teams are so strong,” Stigall said. “I think they’re hard to beat. If we keep them together, they shouldn’t lose. The 1 doubles only lost a couple of matches, and 2 doubles lost in the beginning because they hadn’t figured it out yet. Once they figured it out, they couldn’t be beaten. If they stay in those spots, we just need to find singles wins.”
BNL will have experience in singles with Rachel Kidd at the No.1 spot and Becca Epping moving up to No.2. That leaves the opening at No.3 to fill the graduation hole left by Emily Duncan (who was Honorable Mention in the HHC in singles).
”That is a big spot,” Stigall said. “I need to find a good singles player. That’s an important spot. You have to count on that spot, so it’s a big deal to find that. There are some people who could take it and do well. There could be some switching, because we need to get some girls some experience in singles.“
If the Stars adjust, it will be moving Stigall and Pride into singles action and finding a new doubles combination.
“It’s like a puzzle to put together,” Stigall said.
BNL, which went 8-9 last year and fell to Bloomington North in the sectional final, will start the regular season on April 4, hosting Barr-Reeve.