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Megan Galle hasn’t had many “down” moments during a stellar high school tennis season, but if she does, she doesn’t have to look far for inspiration.
The Columbus East sophomore wears a brown bracelet with the letters DG and 64-12. It’s the initials of her father, Dave Galle, who passed away in August of an autoimmune blood disorder at the age of 47.
“Ever since then, I’ve worn this for every tennis match, and I’ve kind of dedicated the season to him,” Galle said. “It really gives me a lot of comfort because I know he’s watching down on me and watching me play, and it’s just kind of a reminder that he’s watching over us.”
If he has, he’s sure to like what he has seen. Megan is 19-0 at No. 2 singles going into Saturday morning’s sectional final against Columbus North. The match starts at 9 a.m.
Galle’s record doesn’t show just how dominant she has been. She hasn’t lost more than three games in a set and has dropped only 13 games in 19 matches, while winning 215. Twelve of her wins have been 6-0, 6-0 shutouts.
“She’s extremely athletic,” East coach Cheryl McGee said. “She is so aggressive. She’s just physically strong and mentally strong on the court. I would usually say that she’s the aggressor, but she’s a great defensive player, too.
“She’ll toy with somebody for a while to see if they’re going to take charge or not, and if they’re not, she just steps back in there,” she said. “She loves to come to the net, and she loves to serve-and-volley, which is unusual for a girl. There is nothing she’s afraid to go after.”
McGee has seen Galle’s confidence level rise even more following a successful freshman season.
“She does not back off,” McGee said. “She could be down 0-40 and will fight her way back without even thinking it’s a big problem.
“She has a great time playing, and you can tell that when you watch her,” she said. “She is enjoying every point. She has the ability if she loses a point, it’s done. It’s gone. It’s over. She’s always been confident, but her confidence level is very high.”
Galle’s success this season has been even more impressive when considering she was forced to take about six months off in the offseason. One of the bones in her left arm was too long, and it wore a hole through her cartilage. She underwent surgery in August to get the cartilage fixed and have part of bone taken out and didn’t play again until January.
“It was really hard,” Galle said. “I had injuries before, but nothing that required surgery, so it was hard having to sit back and watch everybody play. But it gave me time to think about my game and think about what I wanted to improve and mostly think about my future, too, and if I want to play college tennis. It kind of helped me figure that out a little bit more.”
DePauw, where Dave was an All-American basketball player, has shown the most interest in Megan. She realizes that more interest will likely come her senior year when she will move to No. 1 singles with the graduation of Ashlee Hasson.
“Ashlee and I are really good friends,” Galle said. “I know that I’ll get what I need to get in order to hopefully play in college, and she deserves that No. 1 spot. Sometimes it’s hard not getting to play the better people, but at the same time, I know that if I continue to work hard and dedicate myself that I’ll hopefully get what I need to get for college.”
For now, Galle is keyed on helping the Olympians win their first sectional title in eight years.
“We’re very confident,” Galle said. “We’ve been playing very well, but we have to make sure that we don’t get too confident. We have to make sure that we focus on sectional first and make sure that we play our best and stay focused.”
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