HANNIBAL – Elizabeth Stilley knows there’s going to be ups and downs over the course of a tennis season.
The key is responding quickly when the lows happen.
"We’re realistic and we know we’re not going to win every match," Stilley said. "But we should be at least competitive."
The Hannibal girls tennis team suffered a low over the weekend with a 7-2 loss to Columbia Hickman, but rallied Monday afternoon by sweeping Columbia Battle 9-0 Monday afternoon.
"This definitely got our self-confidence back up," Stilley said.
Winning by convincing margins will help that cause.
Stilley only dropped two games in her 6-2, 6-0 victory over Battle’s Jaylie Echternach.
"I try to always throw different shots because if you keep hitting the same shots those rallies will last forever," Stilley said. "I just wanted to toss it up and still have a good serve."
At No. 1 singles, Hannibal’s Blair Burton defeated Emma McCormick 6-1, 6-0.
"I just worked on being consistent today," Burton said. "I just waited for my opponent to make the error."
The rest of the Pirates lineup – Elizabeth Brummell, Jaspreet Kandola, Emma Haner and Brooklyn Haye – didn’t drop more than two games in their singles matches.
"We just had to keep it fun," Burton said. "That’s what makes the season bearable when we have the tough matches. But winning is definitely more fun."
It gives the Pirates momentum heading into two more matches this week against North Central Missouri Conference rivals Mexico and Moberly upcoming.
"I thought this was going to be one of the hardest weeks of our season," Burton said. "But this was a really good start to it."
That strong play started in doubles.
Stilley and Brummell teamed up at No. 1 doubles to win 8-2 over McCormick and Echternach, while Burton and Haner won at No. 2 doubles 8-1 over J’asia Conway and Hope Wolfmeier.
Kandola and Haye finished off the sweep by winning at No. 3 doubles 8-1 over Lily Bennett and Jenna Hughes.