Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 21, 2017

Trojans march on

By ALLAN MANDELL, Ledger sports editor | May 16, 2017
Photo by: ALLAN MANDELL Fairfield’s Cami Schaefer rushes forward and makes a successful return against Mustang Abby Vaughn. Schaefer won her match 6-1, 6-2.



Fairfield junior Cami Schaefer had just defeated Davis County’s Abby Vaughn 6-1 in Set 1 of their No. 3 singles match on Saturday at Fairfield Middle School.

While the two were switching sides on the court to begin Set 2, Vaughn addressed Schaefer.

“You,” said Vaughn, “are the best volleyer I have ever seen in my life!”

Vaughn has a very powerful serve and forceful at-the-net swing, but Schaefer kept making return after return after return — and won the second set 6-2, clinching the match.

As for the mid-match praise from Vaughn, Schaefer told The Ledger, “I thought, ‘Wow! That’s a nice compliment.’ I do hear things like that sometimes from players. But next year, I want to hit it harder rather than just getting the ball over the net.”

For now, Schaefer is hitting that ball hard enough. She’s the reigning Southeast Conference champion at No. 3 singles.

“Cami returns everything,” said teammate Hermela Gebremariam.

Gebremariam, like Schaefer, also came through on Saturday, defeating Mustang Hailey Swan, 6-2, 6-0, at No. 4 singles.

Ultimately, Fairfield defeated Davis County, 5-0, advancing to Round 3 of the postseason.

“Our team has grown a lot,” Schaefer said.

Gebremariam concurred.

“We’re a really strong team throughout our whole ladder,” she said.

Strong indeed.

And it all starts with sophomore Anatta Charoenkul at No. 1 singles.

If you want to discuss with Charoenkul how it actually feels to lose a high school tennis match, it’ll have to be a very short conversation. She doesn’t have much frame of reference.

In 2016, as a freshman, Charoenkul went undefeated in the regular season and throughout the postseason, until she played for the Iowa state championship.

This entire season, she hasn’t been beaten at all.

On Saturday, Charoenkul defeated Mustang Jordyn Thompson 6-1, 6-0.

In practice, the two looked like equally talented players, both hitting excellent shots.

Then the match started, and Charoenkul was exceptional.

“In practice, I try to take it a little easy,” Charoenkul said.

“Then, in the match, I buckle down. Today, I hit a little better than usual.”

At No. 6 singles, Ashley Pool defeated Kacie Lox 6-0, 6-0.

“My serves were a little off in the beginning of this match,” Pool said. “But then I got it together.”

Trojan senior Dayna Price, at No. 2 singles, was down in her first set against Kylie Rupp, 5-2.

“In the middle of my match, I looked over and saw Dayna was down 5-2,” Charoenkul said. “But I have so much confidence in her to always come back.”

Said Price, “I’ve played against (Rupp) a lot and she knows I don’t like lobs, and that’s the way she plays. I saw the score, I knew I was down. I just needed to hit like I know I can. It was important for me to be present. A lot of times, my issues come with focus. So I decided to stop worrying about who is watching me — and stop worrying about anything else.”

And from then on, it was Rupp who had to do all the worrying.

Price made a stunning, sensational comeback, winning five straight games to take the set 7-5.

Price then won Set 2 rather easily, 6-2.

“In the first few points of the second set,” said Price, “I could see she was a little bit down. I understood. I’ve been in that situation, too. But while she was a little bit down, I just came on stronger and it was that combination that worked for me.”

And everything seems to be working for Fairfield right now.

Three hours before its match against Davis County, the Trojans defeated host Maharishi School 5-0. Winning matches for Fairfield were Pool, No. 5 singles player Anna Beasley, Gebremariam, Schaefer and Charoenkul. Price was ahead in her contest, too, when the fifth win was registered, clinching the overall match.

The Trojans will face Burlington Notre Dame in the Regional Final on Saturday at Fort Madison.

“It’s a big match for us,” Price said. “We’re facing a really good team.

“In our practices this week, we’ll keep working against different people, so we’re ready for the real matches. We’ll just keep working hard in practice — we’re a hardworking team.”


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