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No time to daydream in Pride girls tennis

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Posted: Sunday, April 4, 2010 11:00 pm

Softball seemed a little slow for Shelby Liggett.

So, after her freshman season at Mountain Pointe, she hung up her glove and decided to pick up the pace with tennis.

“I had taken tennis lessons when I was younger,” the Pride senior said, “but I had never really gotten into it.”

When Pride tennis coach Rick Carter told her tennis was a no-cut sport, she decided to give it a try.

She played at the top of the junior varsity ladder as a sophomore and moved onto varsity last season.

Even though the varsity roster was loaded with talented seniors she was still able to play some matches as the sixth and final player on the singles list.

This year she has moved up to the No. 2 spot, and Carter said she could interchange with freshman and No. 1 player, Anastasia Pushkarenko.

Carter said he hasn’t had any challenge matches, where Liggett could move up, because he feels she is a good fit in the No. 2 position.

“Shelby does it all,” Carter said. “She’s a well-rounded athlete who can pick up anything in a few minutes. I really didn’t have to teach her because it came naturally for her.”

Although Liggett felt that the pace of softball dragged, she does enjoy a sport that is even more deliberate. She has just finished her third season on the Pride girls golf team.

“The thing about golf is you’re constantly thinking on the course,” she said. “You have to decide what club to use, how far out you are what kind of shot you should take. In softball you stand there until someone hits a ball toward you, so it’s easy for your mind to wander.”

Liggett said her sophomore season was her tennis “transition year.”

“I was learning the swing, all the rules and how to deal with people on the court,” Liggett said.

She found she also had to stay in the game on the tennis court.

“The pace is a lot faster and you have to think ahead of every shot,’ she added.

Liggett also appreciates that, like golf, tennis is more of an individual sport.

“I love the girls on the team,” she said, “but I like the fact that when I go on the court it’s up to me and my abilities. I don’t have to depend on other people. It’s up to me.”

And the jump from being the No. 6 player to No. 2 on a varsity team has fast tracked her game.

“If you’re playing someone who is better it forces you to use your skills, be quicker and change the way that you play,” she said. “It’s made me better than I was.”

Now she doesn’t have a chance to daydream while waiting for the ball to come to her.

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Jason P. Skoda
  • Jason P. Skoda
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  • Resident sports writer at the Ahwatukee Foothills News

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