By Corey B Elliot
— The Covenant Christian Warriors girls’ tennis team finished its 2013 season with a sectional championship that complimented its 9-7 match record.
The Warriors were optimistic despite not being the sectional favorite and the sectional final was an opportunity to avenge an early season loss against Cardinal Ritter.
“I don’t think people expected us to win sectionals,” Covenant coach John Creighton said. “As our season went on, we battled and our seniors stepped up and played for each other and fought for each other. My coaching staff was tremendous too. Everyone’s strength was everyone else’s weakness.”
After defeating Crispus Attucks in the sectional semifinal, Covenant Christian was set up for their rematch with Ritter. With a tough task at hand, the Warriors had to fight back to win the program’s second-ever sectional title.
Terrific efforts by senior Erika Reed and sophomore Beth Thompson in singles play set the stage for a three-set doubles match to take the title.
“Reed and Thompson battled back and that was a spark,” Creighton said. “Seeing her fight that hard got everyone going and they started to fight that hard. You tell them ‘hey, you did what you can do but you didn’t stop competing.’ When we got to the sectional final our No. 3 singles had won and our No. 2 singles finishing up her match while our No. 2 doubles was in the last set. All of that going on at the same time was awesome. They competed, they brought it, and played their hearts out.”
With a sectional championship, the seniors leaving got to graduate having accomplished something very special. But their contribution to a program that has been founded on getting better, continuing tradition, and maintaining a lifestyle conducive to their faith was much more than a trophy on a wall.
“We’re losing three seniors that showed the other young girls how to lead,” Creighton said. “There is a structure here. We take the senior leaders and split them up and then they lead groups. They learn about each other, it’s like a family. You might be struggling at school or at home but tennis is an escape and through that as well as prayer and pouring out for one another they helped continuing to build this program.”
Continuing a culture of winning and personal growth continues to be the focus for the Warriors. With departing seniors comes the next wave of leaders ready to serve their underclassmen.
“The goals for next year are to continue to work toward supporting each other, competing and pouring out, serving our community,” Creighton said. “They will hold on to the legacy while they add to it. The program is self-sufficient. It doesn’t rely on coaches or players, it relies on the leadership. The more they pour out the more they’ll get back.”