It hasn’t mattered if Meagan Olibo has played singles or doubles the past three years, the Columbus North senior has been there to deliver for coach Kendal Hammel.
After watching her sister Whitney help lead the Bull Dogs to a sectional title when Meagan was a freshman, Meagan moved into the varsity lineup as a sophomore and has been there to stay. She played No. 2 singles as a sophomore, No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles last year, and this year has been a fixture at No. 1 doubles for North, which hosts crosstown rival Columbus East today.
“No. 2 singles was a tough position to play,” Olibo said. “Then 3 singles, I played all right. Moving around, I adjust pretty easily. Going to doubles, I wasn’t really sure about that, but after a few matches, I got into it. One doubles is pretty much the same as two doubles, only the competition is a little bit better.”
Olibo has learned that this season. She is 6-3 at No. 1 doubles with freshman Madelyn Sanders and 0-1 with Hannah Shoemaker, with all of the losses coming against quality opponents.
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“I’m pretty proud of what Madelyn and I have done,” Olibo said. “We’ve had four matches where we’ve gone to three full sets, and we’ve won a couple of those, so we’ve just been battling pretty hard.”
“She wants to win, and she battles to win,” Hammel said. “She doesn’t give up. Even though she’s having some tough matches sometimes and some tough days, she still continues to try to do what she needs to do.”
Hammel said Olibo has become a much better doubles player this season.
“She wasn’t a strong doubles player, but she’s improved a lot this winter,” Hammel said. “She’s improved on her serve, she’s improved on her volleys and things like that. She’s really gotten better as far as using the different types of spins with underspins and topspins and keeping more balls in play. She’s a lot more aggressive in doubles this year with poaching and moving around.”
Olibo said she has to be on top of her game mentally more in doubles than in singles.
“In singles, you don’t really have to think much,” Olibo said. “In doubles, you have to have a strategy and you have to watch out for your partner. You have to make sure you don’t hit it to a player, and then they smash your partner.”
Olibo is planning to attend IUPUI and major in dental hygiene. But first, she wants to help the Bull Dogs defend their sectional title and make a deep postseason run.
“We want to win regional this year,” Olibo said. “Last year, Brooke (Richardson) and I were really close (against Bloomington South) at two doubles, and one doubles was close. I want to win as many as I can and play my hardest.”
What: Columbus North vs. Columbus East girls tennis
When: 4:30 p.m. today
Where: Columbus North High School