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Mari Davidson returns a shot during her singles match against Springfield Central.

“Resilient” Tennis Team Sees Season End in Districts

Republic’s tennis season came to an end Monday at Gillenwaters tennic courts in Springfield in a loss to Springfield Central. Although the final score was 5-0, Republic was leading in the four unfinished matches that remained when Central clinched the victory and play ended.

First-year coach David Smashey said he will remember this team for its ability to bounce back through adversity.

“I thought we were really resilient through the ups and downs. We had some really encouraging big moments. We beat a couple really good teams, and we were close to beating a couple even better teams,” Smashey said. “And when we didn’t, we didn’t quit. We didn’t quit playing and we continued through illness and injury.”

Republic had split two previous meetings with Central, but both of those matches occurred before the Lady Tigers lost top player Jasmine Howard to a season-ending injury. That injury forced every player in the lineup to play up a spot in the lineup against a better competitor this time around.

Although it led to a difficult end to the season, Smashey said the adversity will leave the program in a better position next season.

“People just stepped up, and it gave other people opportunities. And every single time that happened, we benefited from their experience. They learned and they got better, and so in the future, we’ll see wins down the road because of the chance they got to play.”

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