Marley Vehslage said the reason she likes playing singles instead of doubles at Seymour is because she likes facing opponents one-on-one.

“I like the individuality of it, and I don’t have to worry about letting my partner down if I make a mistake,” she said. “It’s all on me, and if I lose I know what I need to focus on.”

The senior said she can definitely tell the difference playing No. 1 or No. 2 singles versus playing No. 3.

One of Vehslage’ strengths is her ability to get to ground strokes and return serves.

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“I get a lot of balls back consistently, and that is why a lot of my matches in the past have taken a long time,” Vehslage said.

During the past three seasons, Vehslage has played in the varsity lineup.

During her years on the court, she’s learned to be patient with her shots and make better decisions.

“I’ve gotten better at watching the ball and knowing when to put it away,’ Vehslage said.

“My placement is getting better, and that works really well for me. I really don’t focus on hitting hard. It’s more moving them around, bring them forward and pushing them back. I’d say my forehand is stronger than my backhand.

“In serving, I do a flat serve which is more of a standard serve. It has power.”

Vehslage has played tennis since seventh grade, and she has helped the Owls win sectional the past three seasons on top of helping her team win its first-ever Hoosier Hills Conference title this past Friday.

“It was exciting and really rewarding because all our hard work has paid off,” Vehslage said. “This year us seniors want to go out with a bang and push as hard as we can this last season and win as much as we can.”

Vehslage said practices are important, and it is vital to get in good physical shape.

“You have to have stamina, and you have to have perseverance, and the mental aspect comes in as well,” she said. “You have to be able to outlast them if it goes a long time. You have to be able to turn sharply and get the balls you don’t think you can get to. You need little bursts of speed.”

For Vehslage, winning the first set is important.

“It’s important because then you have that feeling that you only have one more set, you’re up and you can do it,” Vehslage said.

“It gives you a sense of confidence. It kind of helps you relax because you know you played your game and you can do it.

“For tennis, I think the mental aspect is the most important thing, and that is what I’ve tried to focus on the last few years. If you don’t have that mental toughness then if you mess up you’re down and you can’t focus on anything else, your down and it gets in your head.”

Recovering from errors, taking each set one point at a time, is essential to any tennis success.

“You didn’t forget how to play tennis,” Vehslage said. “Lessons helped me improve on my technique.”

Vehslage said she tries to learn a lot about her opponent during warm ups.

“I try to figure out which side is her weakest side, and then I watch her serve to see where she likes to place it, how hard it is, whether it is weak or strong, and whether I can tee off on the first serve,” Vehslage said. “I like to see if she is strong at volleys and if she likes to come to the net.”

off the court

Name: Marley Vehslage

Parents: David and Becky Vehslage

Siblings: Evan

Sports: Tennis 4 years, volleyball 2 years

Athletic highlights: helped team win three sectionals, All-HHC singles in 2014, IHSTCA all-district, received mental attitude and most improved awards

Home matches: “I like them. I like the support that comes out because all of our parents are here and our friends from school. I think everyone has a familiarity with their home courts. You can see your teammates through the fence and you can cheer them on and stuff.”

Favorite away courts: Columbus East and Brown County

Organizations: National Honor Society, 4 H Junior Leaders, band, DARE role model, Renaissance, Key Club

Plans after high school: Attend Purdue or IUPUI, enter medical field

Favorite food: Peaches

Favorite TV show: “Friends”

Favorite movie: “The Breakfast Club”

Favorite book: Harry Potter series

Favorite quote: “Hustle and heart will set you apart.”

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Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.