Unstoppable Lady Panthers
by W. Brian Hale
Apr 14, 2013 | 1402 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Going undefeated during a season in any spors is a daunting challenge for a team.

With weeks of grueling competition and intense practices, a perfect year is a goal few teams ever achieve.

But if the perfect season is a rarity, two back-to-back unblemished years is almost unheard of.

Since Maddox Panthers tennis coach Lindsey Lotspeich took over the program in 2012, her squad has not lost a match in team competition — compiling a two-year 18-0 record — not only undertaking the challenge of going undefeated for consecutive season, but succeeding.

Lotspeich stated that the team’s success has not only been accomplished through hard work and dedication, but also through goals team members set individually and as a squad.

“At the beginning of this season, we had a day that was rainy and we couldn’t practice — we used that time to set up some goals and expectations for the year that all of us wanted to see carried out,” Lotspeich said.

“One of those goals was to be successful — since we had been an undefeated team in 2012, the girls wanted to be undefeated again in 2013. There were several matches in February and March that we were down in our individual matches and it was up to each team member to do well in our remaining matches so we could continue the streak. Even playing against Cullman in our last match — who is our biggest rival — we were down 1-2 going into singles again and there was a lot of nervousness.

“But because these young ladies had worked so hard and long, it paid off. They love each other and they love to win, too, and because of that, they were rewarded at the end of that match. Their will to win and their work ethic to get victories is very impressive.”

Individually, each of the team members — who returned from the undefeated 2012 team, excelled in singles competition.

Three girls: Olivia Hayes (16-1), Holley Beth Spivy (17-1) and Mary Ann Wolfe (12-1) lost only one singles match during the 2012-13 seasons.

The three other team members: Shanna Watt (16-2), Sarah Williams (15-2) and Abby Kate Griffin (15-2) finished impressively with only two loses during the two-year span.

Williams, who has been playing tennis since she was in sixth grade, said that two years of perfect team play exceeded her all of her expectations.

“I thought we could do really well because of our abilities, but I couldn’t have dreamt that we would be undefeated as a team for two seasons,” Williams said.

“I’m proud of everybody on the team as we’ve all worked really hard for this.”

Watt stated the support that the team members felt from each other was significant in tough matches.

“I was down in my singles match in our last meet of the season and everyone cheering for me, which made me feel great and I was able to the win,” Watt said.

“We’re like a really big family and we care so much about each other — we all want to see each other win.”

Spivy said that being part of the undefeated two-year run is something she’ll always cherish.

“We really wanted to win, so we worked hard at practice and out on the courts to make it happen,” Spivy said.

“I know that I’ll take the joy of these two season with me for the rest of my life.”

According to each member of the team, their journey as competitors is far from over, as they look forward to competing on the Walker Vikings tennis team.

“I’m hoping that they can continue the undefeated record at Walker,” Lotspeich said.

“I think that there is more goals that these girls have. Even though that they are only in eighth grade, they are already talking about being state champions at Walker. If they can continue to work, I believe they can win multiple state championships. I’m so proud of them and I know that great things lie ahead for them.”

Maddox’s boys tennis team also had an outstanding year, rebounding from a 1-8 campaign in 2012 to improve to an 8-1 mark in 2013.

Re’Jaun Spates (7-1) and Morgan Fowler (5-1) lost only one match in singles competition, while Tyler Banks (7-2), Braxton Palmer (5-2) and Blake Marshall followed with two losses.

Tyler Dillard went 3-2 before suffering an injury 5 five weeks into the season and John Wesley Bertoldi was 5-4.

The Lady Panthers’ team was made up of 11 eighth-graders and two seventh-graders.

The boys team consisted of seven eighth-graders and three seventh-graders.