After success in doubles, Harrodsburg's Sheperson switches to singles

May 06, 2004|JILL ERWIN

HARRODSBURG - Things have changed, and Brooke Sheperson is ready to change, too.

The Harrodsburg junior played doubles with Carrie Shewmaker last year, but Shewmaker graduated. That left Sheperson without a tested doubles partner.

Danville's Casie Phillips is gone this season as well after winning three straight 9th Region singles titles. That opens things up for Sheperson, or at least so she and Harrodsburg coach Duane Dunagan hope.

Sheperson is seeded fourth in the singles draw for the regional tournament at Berea that starts today and ends Sunday.

"One of the reasons we're playing her in singles this year is I feel she has a good opportunity at the regional to advance to the state tournament," Dunagan said. "I felt playing singles would give her the best chance to do that."


Sheperson and Shewmaker made the state tournament last year when Harrodsburg won the team title. Sheperson also played doubles in the state tournament three years ago when she was paired with Jennifer White. Both times, she lost in the first round.

Now, she's looking at a new challenge.

"I think I can do really well in our region," Sheperson said. "I think it will help me a lot more with my game, playing singles instead of just playing doubles."

She is the most experienced player on the roster

Sheperson is the most experienced player on the Harrodsburg roster. The lone senior, Katie Hudson, just joined the team two weeks ago and Sheperson has played doubles with just about everyone on the roster.

However, doubles is not where she'll be this weekend.

"She's played doubles for a few years, but I just felt like this year she should be in singles," Dunagan said. "She kind of wanted to go out on her own and see how she could do in the singles competition."

"I still enjoy playing doubles, it's not that I don't like it," Sheperson said. "I would just like the opportunity to play singles for a year or so."

The opportunity is hers, but Sheperson admits she's not sure how it's going to work out. She's concerned how she'll react without someone else to lean on at the regional.

"I am excited, but I'm kind of nervous about it," Sheperson said. "I've never had that kind of pressure on me. I've always had that partner there with me to say, 'Oh, good job,' or 'You need to do this.' Singles is just a totally different game to me than doubles.

"I'll be a lot more nervous because in doubles you have that partner to calm you down. In singles, it's all on you. It all depends on you. I guess you just have to go out there and play your game then see how it goes."

She got off to a slow start this season

Sheperson started out this season in a bit of a slump, struggling to get back in shape after taking the winter off. She soon realized that decision was a mistake, and worked hard to get her game back on track.

Dunagan said Sheperson's footwork is improving and she's doing a better job of placing the ball and moving opponents around.

Sheperson said it was just a matter of working until it happened.

"I just kept hitting and practicing and hitting and hitting and it finally came back," Sheperson said. "It's thinking about your shots and not just swinging however you want. You just have to think about it and make sure you do the right fundamentals."

"I've noticed some things over the past week that leads me to believe she's coming around at the right time," Dunagan said. "As a coach, that's what you like to see. You want to see them gelling around regional time. She's probably playing the best that she's played all year."

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