DALLAS — It takes two to tango.
And in the case of doubles partners Kinzi Boer and Amanda Schafer, who were seniors on the Dallas High School Dragons girls tennis team this year, they tangoed their way through a season that included beating Corvallis for the first time in a decade and making it to the quarterfinals match at districts.
Going into the season, the girls weren’t sure what it would hold for them.
“I wasn’t sure if I was going to find a partner who I was going to play with,” said Schafer, who’s partner from last year graduated. “Having a graduated partner, I was like, who’s going to play with me?”
And for Boer, she switched things up entirely.
“I’ve been playing singles,” she said. “Coming into this year, I thought I was going to play more singles, but Amanda and I ended up as really great partners together. I guess it was just about finding the best fit. We haven’t been partners since freshman year, but we started together. We’ve been playing since before high school actually; we stared in summer programs and stuff like that.”
The No. 1 doubles team rallied their way to a 7-3 league record, punctuated by a victory at Corvallis, a formidable team, to help close out their final tennis season with the Dragons.
That was Boer’s and Schafer’s favorite memory.
“It was just that elated feeling,” Boer said. “Sully (head coach Jordan Sollman) would encourage us to go into the match not thinking that we’re going to lose; we can’t have that mindset; we have to stay positive and there’s always a chance. And that mindset really helps.”
Schafer said she remembers watching one of her teammates, who had never played varsity tennis before, help her partner to secure a doubles victory that day.
“So with Miriam’s match, she had never played varsity tennis,” Schafer said. “She didn’t bring her tennis shoes, she brought her Vans to play in, and she was playing doubles too, and it was a tie-breaker and they won. It was awesome. I’m like, she’s in Vans, first time playing varsity, she beat a Corvallis team.”
A challenge the girls got through together this year was staying positive throughout their final high school tennis season.
“That can be a really big challenge senior year, is thinking that this is it, pressure’s on, but we stayed super positive this year,” Boer said.
“Especially at state,” Schafer said. “We had the mindset that we could still keep going.”
Boer attributes her positivity on the court to Sollman, who the team has dubbed Commander Sully.
“Sully is an amazing coach for us,” she said. “He is one of the best coaches I’ve ever had. He’s an amazing coach.”
The duo played their final match on May 9 in the quarterfinals at districts, where they lost in a three-set thriller match.
It was an emotional ending.
“A lot of girls at the end of their matches (at districts), they end up in tears immediately because it means so much,” Boer said, “but I didn’t think about it until maybe 30 seconds we were off the court, and then I started crying. But we were so in the moment and I feel like that’s another strong suit we have: We’re so focused and in the moment. Even if we didn’t get to go very far, it was a great season. I’m not disappointed with how we played at all.”
Neither was Sollman.
“They had a tremendous year as the No. 1 doubles team for the dragons,” he said. “They are both four-time varsity letter winners and were fantastic tennis players in our tennis program. They, along with my other seniors, will be missed greatly.”