By Gene Phelps
TUPELO – The deeper Tupelo’s soccer team goes into the postseason, the longer it takes for Sarah Lambert Hollingsworth to prepare for tennis season.
She doesn’t mind.
Hollingsworth exited the soccer field the first week in February – Tupelo lost to rival Madison Central in the North state championship – and began prepping for her fifth season as a starter on the Golden Wave tennis team.
“I’m usually a little rusty,” she said. “Soccer gets me in shape for tennis. I can outlast a lot of players.”
A junior, Hollingsworth rarely has trouble switching sports.
“It’s an easy transition for her because she’s so athletic,” Golden Wave tennis coach Laurie Bishop said. “She takes lessons and hits on her own (during soccer).”
Hollingsworth has played singles, doubles and mixed doubles since she became a varsity starter as a seventh grader. This season she has played mixed doubles with Mitch Ostrander and Hogan Harrington.
In Friday’s Tupelo Tournament match against New Albany, she joined Jessie Nabors in a No. 1 girls doubles win. Play continues today at City Park courts.
Hollingsworth isn’t sure where she’ll play when individual postseason play starts Friday in Tupelo. The top two singles players/doubles teams will advance to the state tournament, scheduled for April 30-May 2 in Jackson.
Tupelo begins team competition earlier in the week, but day has not been determined. The Golden Wave, the Division 2 champion, will likely play Division 1 runner-up Olive Branch.
“She handles mixed well, she likes the pace,” said Bishop, who hasn’t released her postseason lineups. “She plays every court really well.”
Hollingsworth enjoys the challenge of playing mixed.
“I have a feeling I’ll play mixed; I’ve played mixed all season,” she said. However, she added, “I think Jessie and I could win playing together in girls doubles.”
Hollingsworth main goal is to help her team.
“I care so much more about the team than winning as an individual,” she said. “I’d like to win an individual championship, but winning as a team would mean more to me.”