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double trouble Players reflect on partnership by | Anna Yarbrough

22 | sports | wingspan | november 2013

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weat dripping from her brow, senior Madison Vaughn steadied herself and prepared to serve the ball. She glanced up at her doubles partner, senior Natalie Ciaramitaro, and gave her a reassuring look, mouthing the words, ‘Come on, Natalie, just one more point.’ Vaughn tossed the ball into the air, hitting it with a satisfying smack and sending it soaring across the court. “Tennis has just shown me that anything I set my mind to, I can do it,” Vaughn said. “Freshman year I lost almost every match. I didn’t think that I would be able to continue it because usually when I don’t succeed I don’t like doing it, but my mom was like, ‘Oh, just stick with it,’ so I stuck with it. I started to see myself improving. The more I played the more I loved the game. It taught me that you can always start at nothing and work for everything.” Vaughn and Ciaramitaro have been playing tennis together since their freshman year. Both ran middle school cross country, but they wanted to try something different when they started high school. “The summer before my freshman year I started taking lessons,” Vaughn said. “In middle school I had done cross country in the fall, and I just really didn’t want to run cross country my freshman year. So I decided to pursue a new sport, and it ended up becoming a big interest for me.” The two also became doubles partners in their freshman season. Although neither Vaughn nor Ciaramitaro had any tennis experience, it helped that they

were friends before they started playing. “In between points we can stop, we can chit chat,” Ciaramitaro said. “That’s not the point, but we can stop and build each other up and tell a funny story. We have inside jokes just from playing together. I think it makes it easier when you play doubles with a friend just because it’s easier to read thoughts and figure out her moves and stuff. I think we work better together because we’re friends.” Vaughn feels that playing together has strengthened their friendship. At the beginning of the season there was talk of splitting their doubles team, but the pair was adamant that they stay together. “We’re friends off the court as well as on the court, so playing together just really strengthened our friendship,” Vaughn said. “We started off being not even able hit the ball, so we’re going to finish being able to win it all.” The top six players on the Lady Falcons’ tennis team made it to regionals. All six also made all-conference. Although Vaughn and Ciaramitaro hoped to make it to state, they were proud of their accomplishments on the court. “We were awful freshman year. I mean it. We couldn’t keep a ball going back and forth between each other, much less the players for the other team,” Vaughn said. “Sophomore year we were kind of still figuring it out. Last year, it really just started to click, and we started to mesh. We were conference champs in doubles and almost made it to state. This season we were conference champs again, so we defended our title. We almost made it to state but we fell just short.”

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