Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

May 14, 2014

Beaver girls look to bring home gold

BLUEFIELD — All qualified. That describes the Bluefield High School girls tennis teamand the state tennis tournament. Four singles players and three doubles teams will take part in the the three day tournament which begins this morning in the capital city.

Bluefield is an experienced squad, led by seniors Molly Lovern, Alex Lewis and Claire Bailey. Lovern and Bailey captured a state championship last year in doubles. This year four girls look for individidual titles along with three doubles crowns and a team championship.

Coach Cathy Bailey said, “They all have worked extremely hard not only during tennis season, but so many of them have worked this past summer and have really upped their game and they’re really ready to go to Charleston and meet the competition and bring home a title.”

Lovern is the No. 1 seed. Her first match is this morning against Alissa Link of Fairmont Senior.

“It’s a little different this year because in years past we’ve just been looking to make good showings at states. It’s a little different now,” Lovern said. “Having a little more confidence, having gotten through some at No. 1 last year, going back to try again this year and actually having the entire team qualify behind me, it’s just a different feeling knowing that there is actually potential to make it happen this year.”

Lovern continued, “I would say that our biggest opponent is ourselves. What we have to do is get down there and not beat ourselves and play our best game. I think if we do that, there is nobody that should beat us.”

Lewis plays at No. 3 singles and will take on Madison Hill of Oak Glen today. She is excited about another trip to the state tournament.

“It’s a great feeling to be able to go back. This is our third year getting to go up and I expect us to win. If we just go up and play focused and play our game, we can definitely win it,” Lewis commented. “Having everybody go up in every position... We are the only team up there that has every position getting to play.

“Our main goal is to win the championship this year and try our hardest.”

Claire Bailey qualified in No. 4 singles and as the entire team, she was a regional champion at her position. Bailey squares off against Morgan Duerr of Weirton Madonna, Friday morning. Bailey said past experience is a plus.

“It’s actually  really exciting because we know what it’s like when we get up there. And since I have gone for the past two years, it’s not as scary as it will be for some of these other girls that are going,” Bailey said. “But it is really exciting and we hope to come out with the best and that our whole team comes out with a championship.”

Zoe Nicewander, a sophomore, checks in at the No. 2 doubles position. Nicewander has a first round bye and will face the winner between Alyse Lewis of Huntington St. Joseph and Kelsey Self of Petersburg this afternoon.

In doubles play Lovern and Nicewander drew a bye and play on Friday morning against a team from either Chapmanville or Frankfort. No. 2 doubles has Bailey and Lewis going against a team from East Fairmont on Friday, and the No. 3 doubles team of Emma Cole and Camilla Deeb play a duo from Oak Glen, Friday.

Coach Bailey, who is in her fifth season leading the girls team, talked about the season.

“When the year started and we were doing well, we were winning, we also had heard that some of the teams up North weren’t doing as well because a lot of their girls had gone out for softball or something. I thought to myself this may be our chance to slide in and get a championship,” Bailey said.

“We readjusted in the middle of the season our doubles teams . I switched Molly (Lovern), she is now with Zoe (Nicewander) and that gives us a really good chance with No. 1 doubles. Alex (Lewis) and Claire (Bailey) are now playing No. 2 doubles. I think that we will do good in both of those and I think our No. 3 doubles team, Emma (Cole) and  Camilla (Deeb), they’ve  got a good draw and I think that we have a really good chance of winning there also.”

Bailey is assisted in coaching the team by her husband Jim and numerous others who have helped not only this year but in years past. One of those is Teena Moorefield. Moorefield recently became ill and the team decided to dedicate their play to her. At the Coalfield Conference tournament the team received permission to wear special pink and black uniforms that were donated in Moorefield’s honor.

“We will have to get approval to wear the uniforms in Charleston since they are not our school colors, Bailey said. “I am hoping they will allow us this honor.”

As a team, the Bluefield girls last brought home a state championship in 2007. With qualifiers in all seven positions, another state title could be coming to Cumberland Road.

— Contact Bob Redd at and Twitter @bdtredd.

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