Game on!

Tivy’s Lexi Harrel and Shayna Meek prep for action at the Class 5A state tennis tournament next week at the Northside Athletic Complex in San Antonio.

Photo by Brandy McCoy

Tivy’s final athletic act of 2020-21 takes place on the courts at the University Interscholastic League's Class 5A state tennis tournament to be held May 20-21 when Lexi Harrel and Shayna Meek serve up against Abilene Wylie in their first match in San Antonio.

The dynamic duo has defied odds all season to work their way to the ultimate event for high school tennis players in Texas.

Harrel and Meek went into the District 26-5A tournament seeded fourth and won. They were seeded third at regional and wound up defeating top-ranked Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial for the right to step up to the nets at Northside ISD’s tennis complex, where state matches will be played.

Each girl explained before a recent practice session how having to battle the odds and favored opposition has sharpened them for their state court appearance.

“Our second match at regional was probably more mentally draining than any we played during the season, but we had to make adjustments and did,” Harrel said. “It’s (the season) been amazing and very rewarding because of how long we’ve been playing to know we represent Tivy at state.”

Attacking the opposition has been one key to Harrel’s game.

“I’m more aggressive at the net and I tend to get most of the balls back. I’ve also worked on angling my return and getting some consistency in my ground stroke. We’ve also been practicing every day and doing cross fit every day to be as much at the top of our game as possible. And I just want to play as well as possible,” said Harrel, who graduates from Tivy this year.

Meek, a junior, mentioned that knowing they were sometimes overlooked by the opposition just made the playing partners more determined.

“There were definite nerves with each match, but we had to go into focus mode. I had to play my best,” Meek said.

“Before playing doubles I was a real competitive singles player and stayed in rallies longer, which has helped us in some of our tougher matches playing doubles. I can still sharpen up my net game and put volleys away and be more aggressive at the net,” Meek said.

“It still comes down to whoever performs the hardest, and Lexi and I really keep each other motivated,” Meed said. “We’ll have little pep talks between points just to help lift each other up. We both want to perform our best, and the immediate chemistry between us has been a real benefit.”

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