In a manner, Bloomington North Alex Shirley had to learn how to play the tennis court without being herself.
The senior from Bloomington North needed to adopt a new strategy in order to improve her chances of success after having a difficult season at No. 1 singles. She persevered and succeeded as a result, winning the Herald-Times Girls’ Tennis Player of the Year award.
Since Carolina Lopes received the honor in 2017, Shirley is the first Cougar to receive it.
North coach Barb Mills said.“She struggled a bit her junior year with some things and she wasn’t happy about her year. So she worked hard and focused and I thought she made a huge jump in terms of learning to do things that were not so comfortable for her, adding a slice or more topspin.
Learning that you couldn’t always win the way you wanted to win. You had to have a Plan B. She did a great job making adjustments, a fantastic job. It was a real joy to watch her play. Her seeing it herself and finding different ways to win.”
Shirley missed her freshman year due to the COVID strike and immediately astonished her coach, who had first seen of her as a potential doubles player. But she demonstrated that she knew how to complete a point in the challenge matches even back then.
Shirley, though, ultimately didn’t care what position she played as long as she was wearing a Cougar uniform.
Mills said.“The thing was, she was always about the team. She played to be a part of a team. She loved being a part of a team. She would have played anywhere on the team. She was not a selfish player at all.”
H-T All-Area Girls’ Tennis
Bloomington North Alex Shirley tops Herald-Times All-Area girls tennis squad are as follow:
Singles: BROOKE BAILEY, North, Sr. MADDIE SANTNER, South, Jr. ALEX SHIRLEY, North, Sr.
Doubles: KEIRA MURPHY, Jr. and ELLIE BRUCE, Sr., North CAITLIN HEIM, Sr. and RILEY WALKER, Sr., South
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