MARION – Fallyn Stephens and her Marion Harding teammates had something to prove this season.
Stephens, a senior tennis player and the Fahey Bank Female Athlete of the Month for September, said she enjoyed the season because she had an extra drive to succeed.
“Not a lot of people thought of us as a good team since it was only our second year in the (Mid Ohio Athletic Conference),” said the daughter of Joseph and Mary Stephens. “It was a lot of fun proving them wrong and also beating the teams we beat outside of the league.”
Harding was 10-0 in league play to win the MOAC and 16-2 overall this fall.
A three-time winner of the bank’s award, Stephens said her second trip through the MOAC helped her to a fine record in 2015.
“Knowing the different girls from the MOAC helped, knowing what I was getting into,” she said. “Playing first singles was also easier for me this year since I had gotten a lot better than I was last year.
“My serve and my backhand, I worked at them over the summer and in practices, and I got better with them.”
Stephens fashioned a record of 13-6 at first singles during the regular season while playing the best the opposing team had to offer. She was 7-1 at first singles in MOAC action and was 1-0 at first doubles in league play when she teamed with Alyssa Moodley.
Stephens then excelled in the MOAC tournament by placing first at first singles.
She had a first-round bye in that event because of her top seeding. Stephens then breezed by Katelyn Smith, of Galion, 6-2, 6-1 in the semifinals before dispatching of Brenna Holmberg, of Jonathan Alder, 7-6 (5), 6-3 in the championship match.
The title was her second straight at first singles in the conference tournament.
“That felt really good,” said the MOAC first teamer.
Then it was on to the Division I Central District sectional tournament. But the fun ended there; Stephens was defeated by Sierra Massey, of Grove City, 2-6, 3-6 in the opening round to end her campaign.
“I only play tennis in school, and the other girls in the district have played since they were like 5 years old,” Stephens said. “And most of them also have their own personal coaches.
“I’ve never seen competition as good as I have down there in the district.”
Stephens won one of her Athlete of the Month awards for basketball, a sport she hope to continue to play.
“I’m hoping to go to college for basketball, but I haven’t chosen a school yet,” she said. “I’m thinking about getting into the pharmacy field, but I have several college visits remaining.”
Alexis Reichardt, River Valley golf
Tailor Wolf, Elgin volleyball
Ciera Greene, Pleasant volleyball
Hannah Slane, Ridgedale volleyball