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Taylor’s Lyons is fierce competitor

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By Josh Claywell

Coach Grant Litton would not like to play against Madison Lyons.

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And that’s not because he’s afraid to face her.

Taylor County’s top girls’ singles player is the type of player who frustrates opponents with her ability to keep points alive for long stretches of time, never giving up until her opponent hits a shot she can’t reach.

“She just grinds her opponent down by just constantly hitting the ball back,” Litton said of Lyons, a junior. “They’ll hit a spike, and she’ll lob it back to them or she’ll hit it right at them. It’s frustrating when you’re playing a player like that because you want to try and kill it, but you end up messing up because all they do is hit it back.”

It wasn’t always like that, however.

Early in her career, Lyons admitted to not trying to get to a ball if it was hit on the other side of the court. She didn’t play with the killer instinct she has developed the last few years since transferring to Taylor County from crosstown rival Campbellsville.

That mentality has helped Lyons win matches she might have thought she couldn’t.

“I’ve learned to stay alive in the point and not just tire out as easily,” Lyons said. “Sometimes, if a ball is hit on the other side of the court, I just won’t go get it. I just get really into my head and I get down on myself, and I’ve learned this year just to think positively and to try and a lot harder.”

The reason Lyons plays with more tenacity is because she feels she’s not just letting herself down if she doesn’t play hard.

“Towards the end of the season, I had gotten a lot better at doing that,” Lyons said. “I had one really tough loss, and I just told myself that I can’t give up anymore. This is something that I love doing, and I love the people on the team and I don’t want to let them down.”

Litton likes seeing Lyons’ mean streak come out and said it has rubbed off on the team’s other players.

When they see Lyons chasing down a ball that seemed impossible to reach, Litton said that makes her teammates want to step up their level of play.

“She’s very committed and other girls, when they watch her, they see that she never gives up on a point and she always stays with it,” Litton said. “It’s been fun watching her grow this year as a competitor and as a player.

“She’s very tenacious. She gets fired up, and it makes her scarier and a better player when she gets fired up.”

Lyons hopes to contend for a semifinalist spot when the 5th Region Tennis Tournament is conducted this week at Freeman Lake Park in Elizabethtown.

With the way she’s played this season, Lyons believes anything is possible.

“I at least want to make it to the semifinals of the region tournament,” Lyons said. “It’ll depend on who I get picked to play against, but I’m not going to give up.”

Litton is confident Lyons can play with anyone she gets matched up against in region and is capable of making a deep run in the tournament.

“I don’t think I’m gonna be able to get her in the top eight (seeds) with a couple of tough losses earlier in the year, but she can beat some of those seeded players,” he said. “She can compete with them, and we’ll see what happens.”