Friday, October 22, 1999

Unbeaten Falk leads march to state tennis tourney




BY DAVE SCHUTTE
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Audra Falk of Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy likes the spirit of playoff tennis.

        “This is the only time when tennis is a team sport,” said Falk, a junior and the defending Division II state singles champion. “Everybody is hyped and I really get into it. This is the way it will also be in college.”

        Falk leads a strong contingent of Cincinnati players competing in state singles and doubles today and Saturday at Ohio State University's Stickney Tennis Center.

        As a highly touted freshman, pressure was put on Falk to be only the second player in state history to win four consecutive state titles. The only player to win four in a row was Indian Hill's Andrea Farley from 1985-89.

        “People had never seen anyone play as well as a freshman since Andrea,” CHCA coach Lynn McNally said of Falk. “Audra felt a lot of pressure and didn't know what to expect. She lost in the first round.”

        Falk said she learned from that experience.

        “That first round loss at state motivated me last year,” Falk said. “I didn't meet my standards and I had to prove myself.”

        In three seasons, Falk's record is 101-6, including 30-0 this year.

        “Audra is having a great season,” McNally said. “She may be the best player in the state.”

        Said Falk: “I'm starting to feel more pressure because winning state would be great for my resume. The whole team is behind me which relieves some of the pressure.”

        Along with a powerful serve, Falk also has good foot speed and in McNally's words, “an incredible ground stroke.”

        Two doubles teams from CHCA (Laura Leutzinger-Jennifer Dektas and Lindsay Hanto-Shandon Dowiatt) also will contest for a state championship.

        Indian Hills's Division II district champion team of Meredith Vincent and Michelle Rothzeid are entered in the doubles competition. In Division I, Mason's Susan Kelley is the only singles qualifier with doubles teams from Sycamore, Oak Hills, Ursuline and Middletown competing.

       



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