Sunday, February 23, 2003

Clary sisters are aces for Xavier's program


Lauren, Kristen 18-0 in singles matches

By Ryan Ernst
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Last season, Xavier tennis player Lauren Clary took the Atlantic 10 by storm, going a combined 52-15 in singles and doubles play en route to earning the conference's player- and freshman-of-the-year honors.

As a result, the Musketeers improved on a fourth-place conference finish in 2001 to become runners-up after a close loss to Richmond. Now, coach Jim Brockhoff hopes the addition of another Clary will put his young team atop the A-10.

Through two A-10 matches this season, the Musketeers have outscored opponents 14-0, thanks in large part to the elder Clary and her freshman sister, Kristen. So far this season, the two are a combined 18-0 in non-tournament singles matches. The sisters are the first to admit they're not big on losing. But then again, they don't have much experience in that department.

Both Clarys played four years of varsity tennis at Terre Haute South High School in Indiana. In 1999 and 2000, they helped lead their team to state runner-up finishes. In 2001, the sisters led South to a state team title.

Though Xavier's team is relatively inexperienced, the Musketeers are adjusting and making a claim as a top team in the conference. The starting singles lineup - three freshmen, two sophomores and a junior - leaves Brockhoff drooling over the program's future prospects.

"One word: spectacular," he said. "We've got a solid team this year with a good young core. And our real strength is our depth. We can interchange two, three and four without any problems."

So far, Kristen has exemplified the Musketeers' lineup flexibility and depth, winning at both third and fourth singles. There is one situation in which Kristen won't find herself, according to her sister. "We've always been on the same team together, but we've never played doubles together," Lauren said. "I don't think it's even a possibility, because we've established our own partners."

So far this season, Lauren and Kristen are a combined 12-2 in nonconference play with their respective partners, sophomore Stephanie Bauer and junior Kate Weightman.

But no matter how well she does in doubles or how deep the Musketeers are, the spotlight of the Atlantic 10 is on its best player. And, according to her sister, Lauren will avoid a sophomore slump.

"(Lauren) is always so focused and she always plays so hard," Kristen said. "It's just great to think that we're going to be playing together here for three more years. She's the kind of player you definitely want on your team and never want to play against."

Fortunately for Kristen, she'll never have to play against her big sister. Unfortunately for the rest of the A-10, the Clary sisters are together again.

"I was so excited when Kristen decided to come here," Lauren said. "We've always played together, and we've always had fun and we've always been successful. So hopefully this is kind of a continuation of high school."

Others

• Ursuline Academy graduate Katie Greiner recently became the first woman in Fordham swimming history to win an Atlantic 10 title when she took the 500 freestyle in a school-record time of 4:59.06.

• Mount Notre Dame graduate Lindsey Schaaff recently broke Wooster's single-season 3-point field goal record of 39. Going into Saturday's season finale against Earlham, she had made 47 3-pointers.

• Kendra Bailey, a Felicity Franklin graduate playing basketball at Ohio Northern, scored a career-high 32 points in an 85-75 win over John Carroll. Bailey leads the Polar Bears in minutes, points, rebounds, assists and steals.

• Cincinnati State forward and Eastern Brown graduate Jason Hauck was named Ohio Community College Athletic Conference player of the week after totaling 50 points and 18 rebounds in a pair of Surge victories.

• St. Xavier grad Matt Williams, a senior guard at Rollins College (Fla.), was named the Sunshine State Conference player of the month for January. Rollins is ranked 16th nationally in the NCAA Division II poll.

• Cincinnati product Reggie Moore recently tallied his 1,000th career point at Wheeling Jesuit.

• Notre Dame Academy graduate Kim O'Brien, who finished her soccer career at Gardner-Webb as the school's second-leading scorer, was named the team's offensive player of the year.

• Xavier men's soccer coach Jack Hermans has been named Ohio Collegiate Soccer Association Division I Coach of the Year. The Musketeers went 10-7-2 this season, their best mark since 1998.

E-mail rernst@enquirer.com




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