Being a year apart in school, Kirk Academy sophomore Kaycie Clements and freshman Meg Daves didn’t have classes together. They did pass each other in the halls and spoke to each other, however, both of them will tell you that they did not “hang out.”
That changed this spring as the two members of the Raiders’ tennis team paired up to play No. 2 doubles, and capping the season with a Midsouth Association of Independent Schools Class AAA State Championship at the Ridgeland Tennis Center. Each player brings their own strengths to the table. Besides their athletic ability to perform on the court, the duo has outstanding chemistry together.
“I think one of the biggest keys for us is we encourage one another on the court,” Daves said. “When things are going tough, we pick each other up.”
A unique characteristic of the two is that Clements is left-handed and Daves is right-handed.
“I think we compliment each other,” Clements said. “We are always the first ones on the court and the last to leave.”
First-year coach Jeremy Foster said he saw growth in the players as the season progressed.
“These two are coachable, continuously desiring to learn, competitive individuals,” Foster said. “Meg is tenacious and consistent in rallies, she wills herself to win. Kaycie is a hard-hitting left-handed dynamo that is ready and able to win the point. The duo fought adversity throughout the season, but their desire to win prevailed.”
Daves and Clements added that they enjoyed their time with Foster this spring. They also received help this spring from Joel Carson, a former tennis player at Kirk and father to Linton, who was taking part in the tournament, also.
“He is a really good coach,” Daves said. “He would hit with us and work on some things that we needed individually to improve our game. He was very involved.”
Clements said Foster paid attention to details.
“He used specific drills to help us improve,” Clements added. “He didn’t take his job lightly and always tried to make us better.”
After cruising to an opening State AAA Tournament win over Canton Academy in straight sets, Clements and Daves found themselves in a battle with Laurel Christian.
“We were glad that the first match in the state wasn’t as stressed as the finals,” Clements concluded. “Every point, game, set and match turned out to be important in the finals.”
Clements and Daves opened the title match with a 6-3 win in the opening set. The second set saw the Laurel Christian team rally to win a 6-4 decision forcing the deciding tiebreaking set. It was also the set that Clements had to change her grip due to it slipping with each shot during the second set. They came out in the deciding set and won a 6-4 decision to bring the No. 2 girls doubles title back to Grenada.
Kirk had four other players take part in the state tournament. Carson Stanford defeated Canton in the first round and lost to Laurel Christian in the finals. Chandler Beissel lost to Riverfield in Round 1. Cole Bailey and Linton Carson were defeated by Laurel Christian in their opening round match.