Girls tennis team heads to Sectionals

By Maia Huddleston
Contributing Reporter

With a dual match record of 6-5, the Mattoon High School girls tennis team is very proud of their progress throughout their 2016 season.

MHS senior Rachel Ervin was the most excited about winning the Apollo conference as a team and stated that the girls, “came from behind at the last minute.”

“I am extremely proud of my team’s performance at Apollo conference. We knew it was going to be a battle between Mt. Zion and us going in, and we fought hard and got the job done to win our 5th consecutive conference,”  MHS senior Chloe Anderson said.

Ervin stated that matches this season are “no safe bet,” and added that conference was, “more of a team effort.” Along with team unity,

Anderson believed personal strength to be the biggest determining factor that played into her team’s success throughout the season.

“We have a lot of really talented players, and what really affects the game of tennis is the mental game, so mental toughness is definitely huge on the court,” said Anderson.

In order to prepare for Sectionals, the girls practice every day and try their hardest to do their best work.

“I think Sectionals is going to come down to how we perform that day, but I know we have the talent, ability, and desire so it just comes down to everyone having an ‘on day,’” Anderson said.

“If we’re playing as hard as we know we can, and we keep a positive attitude, then we can win,” MHS sophomore Kyla Doty said.

Football team aims for playoffs

By Sophie Collings

The Mattoon High School team football is well into the middle of their season. With a record of 4-3 this year, the team, as well as coaches, are optimistic, but looking to make some improvements.

MHS head football coach Troy Johnson says there are specific aspects to the way the team is playing that could be greatly improved.

“Not fumbling and not turning the ball over, those are huge….We’ve got to fix a lot of those mental mistakes we’ve got going on,” Johnson said.

According to Johnson, mental mistakes and turnovers go hand in hand, which is a major part of the game. Varsity quarterback and MHS senior Nick Poorman agrees that there are some issues to fix.

“We could improve on everything, but specifically, managing the ball, taking care of the ball and capitalizing when we get the ball back after turnovers,” Poorman said.

Poorman also mentioned that as far as important games for this season, playing Taylorville is important as it will definitely impact what direction the season continues in. Although there are areas to improve upon, Poorman, along with the majority of the team, has one overall goal in mind: playoffs.

“We want to make playoffs and win out for the season,” MHS senior Noah Patterson said.

Along with goal setting, Johnson has his own aspirations for the team, however they are fundamentally different, and more improvement based than the players’ goal.

“I don’t promise wins and losses…What I promise is that we’ll play hard and continue to play hard, and get better every week. That’s always my goal. The wins will come as you take care of the little stuff,” Johnson said.

Girls volleyball team bonds outside of game: Players credit team’s accomplishments to their close knit group

Victoria Leitch
Design Editor

The Mattoon High School girls varsity volleyball team started off their season strong with a record of 8-2. But after experiencing some tough competition at the Effingham Cross Roads tournament, their record became 9-4. Struggling through the tournament let them discover their weak spots, led them to bond tremendously and become a developed team.

“During that tournament, I believe that our team overcame a lot of adversity from beginning to end. We left a better and stronger team with some key things that we needed improvement on and work towards correcting in practices to come,” MHS senior and team member Sierra Thompson said.

The team has grown over the past few seasons and has realized how to come out on top.

“Our team’s greatest strategy is to always come ready to play with tons of energy and to practice hard every time we get in the gym,” Thompson said.

MHS sophomore and varsity player Brooklyn Edwards knows how strong the girls’ desire to overcome their obstacles has grown. They work hard and with passion while preparing for the rest of their season and post season.

“We are all determined to beat Mt. Zion and take back the Apollo Conference that they took away from us last year. We also want to go as far into the post season as possible,” Edwards said.

According to senior Lexi Rankin, the friendship among the girls extend further than just at practices and games.

“We’ve had a team dinner. We sit as a team at all of the games and before them we have a ‘dance party’ in the locker rooms. We’re also friends inside and outside of school and volleyball,” Rankin said.

Being friends with each other in more ways than just as teammates has helped all the girls feel more supported by one another. They have gained a sense of trust among each other that will grow with them throughout the season.

“We have a strong team this year because everyone is so close, and when someone is having a bad day, somebody is always there to pick them up,” Edwards said.

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