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Dice rolls with the changes and shines

June 18, 2008|By MARK KELLER

The Clear Spring girls tennis team posted a 17-0 record in 2008.

As part of that team, Sarah Dice went 17-0 at No. 2 singles.

Which meant more to Dice?

"I would have to say the team record, easily," Dice said. "For us to go from last year, winning only four matches, to undefeated this year ... that means a lot."

After playing doubles as a sophomore, Dice and Amanda Jenkins split to play singles for the Blazers in the 2008 regular season. But the two teamed up again in the postseason, winning the Washington County doubles title, finishing second in the Region 1 tournament and advancing to the state quarterfinals.

Dice's stellar season in both singles and doubles led to her selection as The Herald-Mail's All-County Girls Tennis Player of the Year.

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Dice said she enjoyed playing singles and expects to again as a senior. However, she feels more comfortable with Jenkins by her side on the court.

"Singles is definitely a change," Dice said. "I've been playing with Mandy for two years. We laugh, we have fun and we work well together."

"They're at about the same level of play," Clear Spring coach Lisa Shives said. "Sarah never challenged Mandy (for the No. 1 singles spot) because she knew one could beat the other on any given night."

Shives said she decided to use Dice and Jenkins in singles for the regular season to "get more rackets on the ball."

She said the plan all along was to pair them up again for the postseason tournaments.

"We knew from the beginning of the year that they would do doubles," Shives said. "That's their favorite way of playing, even though they're both great singles players."

Dice said the experience of playing two matches in the state tournament will help her and Jenkins as they strive for a return trip to College Park as seniors.

"It's a whole different level for us down there," Dice said. "Now that we've been there, we have an idea of what we're up against. I just hope to do the same things next year."

That includes another perfect season for the Clear Spring girls team.

"We had no seniors on the team. We're not losing anybody," Dice said. "It'll be nice to be the ones with the target on our backs, but I know we'll come out and do what we have to do and win like we did this year."

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