There is a great deal of research that proves that people who play high school varsity sports tend to get better jobs, with better pay, and that those benefits last a lifetime. For Seniors Noel Sarhan and Ripley Lucas who are doubles partners for the LaRue County tennis team the benefits of playing tennis far exceed the rewards.
Sarhan and Lucas have been paired to play doubles this season for the Girls Tennis team. Although it is not their first season playing tennis it is, however, their first year playing doubles together. Lucas has been playing since Middle School, and Sarhan joined the team last year. Their games and demeanor on the court have complimented each quite well this season.
When asked why these two were paired together, Coach Terry Caven says, “We needed some experience leading our charge in doubles. Ripley and Noel are both seniors and provide the leadership we needed at this spot. Ripley and Noel’s games also complement each other well. Ripley has a more aggressive mindset in doubles while Noel is a very consistent player.”
Lucas has been playing tennis for the last six years. “My mom originally motivated me to try it out after we moved to Larue, and I have loved it ever since,” says Lucas. “I’ve played varsity all four years of high school, and I have played doubles every year except for a short time at the end of last year.”
Sarhan is in her second year of playing tennis. “I decided to commit to tennis after a tennis camp my sophomore year,” says Sarhan. “I played singles last year as a junior, but this year Coach Caven and McDowell felt like it would help the team more if I paired with Ripley.”
Both Lucas and Sarhan have a good friendship and seem to understand each other well which is a necessary requirement when playing doubles tennis. When asked what it was like playing tennis with their partner Sarhan admits, “It’s a lot fun. We support each other through the good and bad shots.” Lucas is quick to agree, “Oh, I love it! I really think Noel and I work well together. It certainly makes the experience a lot better, whether if we win or lose.”
Caven speaks highly of Sarhan and Lucas who have willingly made the most of their opportunity as a doubles team. “Ripley has really stepped up this year as a leader. She has some big shoes to fill, but is doing a great job. She is the girl’s captain. Noel is very quiet, but works hard and leads, but in a quiet way. Noel spends quite a bit of time outside of practice improving her game whether it’s in lessons or playing with a teammate. Their senior maturity has helped them gel quickly as a doubles team.”
Caven also adds, “Their senor mentality and competitiveness are their greatest allies this year. They have the ability to overcome obstacles and challenges during matches by thinking through strategy together and implementing a game-plan. “
According to Caven the expectations for the rest of the season are rather simple. “Our expectation for each of them is to actually learn and grow from each other. We hope that Ripley will grow in her ability to stay consistent on the baseline while Noel will become more confident in being aggressive. Our expectations for them at Conference and Region is to compete in every match, they definitely have the ability to pull some upsets during these tournaments.”
Sarhan expects to finish strong these last four weeks of the season. “We want to try our best and get as far as we can by maybe taking some risks that might pay off. We both have to be willing to take some chances if we want to advance. If the ally is open I would rather take the chance to hit it down the line, rather than just hit a safe shot back to the middle.”
Whatever the outcome is for both Lucas and Sarhan they both possess a mature perspective about tennis and the benefits of playing High School tennis.
Sarhan is thankful for her experience on the tennis team. “Being a part of a team is everything. When you win together and lose together it brings you closer. I play tennis for fun but when I’m out there, even if I’m losing, I never let myself give up because the team is counting on me just like I’m counting on them to compete. Even if we are down five games there is still a chance in that last game that you we can come back. I really do get down on myself if I’m losing, but I think being a part of this team has really helped me to never let myself fully give up.”
Lucas shares a different perspective. “I think the biggest life lesson I’ve learned through tennis is to trust myself. I used to have such a problem second guessing my decisions and throughout the years I’ve grown to trust myself so much more, both on and off the court.”
These lessons learned through athletics will serve Lucas and Sarhan well whatever their future endeavors may be.