Panthers get ideal start to season

Palmyra's Reagan Lehenbauer returns a volleyball during Tuesday's tennis match against Moberly in Palmyra, Mo.
Mat Mikesell/Courier-Post
By Mat Mikesell, Hannibal Courier-Post Sports Editor
Posted: Sep. 4, 2019 9:50 am

PALMYRA, Mo. – The match was already well in hand, but Amy Bryan still was looking for ways to get better.

The No. 1 singles player on the Palmyra girls tennis team was ahead of Moberly’s Molly Greene, but wanted instruction in between points from coach Jessica Gottman. Specifically, she felt her forehand was off after missing a few shots.

Gottman, however, didn’t see anything wrong.

"It just helps having the coaches say something to you," Bryan said. "We’re always trying to improve."

Bryan went on to win her match over Greene 8-4 Monday night as the Panthers swept the Spartans 9-0 to open the season in North Central Missouri Conference play.

"She’s a very coachable player," Gottman said. "If she’s making the same mistake over and over again, she wants to know why. She doesn’t like the unforced errors."

That’s what made the dominant performance possible. It was the kind of match Palmyra wanted.

"It was a really fun match for us," Bryan said. "It was good to finally get back into the swing of things. This just said we’re here to play."

Palmyra’s performance showed that. The Panthers’ depth makes them dangerous.

McKenna Abbott defeated Madeline Meystrik at No. 2 singles 8-0, while Reagan Lehenbauer beat Katelyn Kruse at No. 3 singles 8-0.

At No. 4 singles, Raegan Barnett beat Margaret Smith 8-3, and Jansen Juette won 8-1 over Ashton Martin at No. 5 singles.

Katy Rindom had the closest match in singles at No. 6 match, winning 9-7.

In doubles, the duo of Lehenbauer and Juette won 8-1 at No. 3 singles, and Abbott and Rindom also won 8-1.

The lineup Gottman created has Palmyra’s doubles team that made an appearance at state last year as the No. 3 team. Juette, one of those doubles players to make it to state, is also the No. 5 singles player.

"It’s just how the numbers add up," Gottman said. "I knew we’d have some depth in the top 6. The only one that doesn’t have varsity experience prior to that is (Rindom)."

That, along with Palmyra’s showing against Moberly, could mean a big season is coming.

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