Though neither player had left the team, nor had they been injured, sophomore Elaine DeHart and junior Katie Schober had a bit of a homecoming Wednesday afternoon as members of the girls’ tennis team.
The duo started the season as partners, comprising the No. 1 doubles team, but were separated when an injury to No. 3 singles Michelle Bower forced her out of the lineup for a few weeks, shifting Schober to singles.
Things were back to normal on Wednesday and DeHart and Schober shook off a little rust in a 6-4, 7-5 win over Woodbury’s Katie Snow and Grace Sweeney.
“It didn’t take very long (to get comfortable with each other’s playing style again),” said DeHart. “We played in the beginning of the season, so it is a lot easier than with a brand-new partner.”
The duo was particularly impressive at the end of the second set. DeHart and Schober trailed 5-4, but rallied to win the final three games and close out the match.
“Obviously (DeHart and Schober) were a little rusty because they were playing with different partners, but they seemed excited to be back together, which is great,” said West Deptford head coach Kelly Hernandez.
The Eagles’ second doubles team of Lauren Szybiak and Kerriann Pfleger won 6-3, 6-1, but Woodbury came away with the 3-2 result after sweeping the singles matches.
For her part, Schober said she is happy to be back playing at doubles. While singles provided her with a great challenge and a glimpse into what next season may offer, doubles is where she has played her best tennis this season.
“For singles it was hard, because I had to get used to calling everything out,” Schober said. “Back at doubles it is easier, because now I don’t have as much pressure on myself and I have someone to lean on. It was easy getting back with her.”
Bower was injured in a match against Haddon Township on Sept. 22, when she suffered a concussion. Although the concussion was mild, Bower had to go through the multiple stages necessary to get back on the court and finally was cleared for action prior to Wednesday’s match.
Though she lost, 6-1, 6-1, Bower's presence provided Hernandez the opportunity to have her full starting lineup back in tact for the final three matches.
She just wishes it could have happened sooner.
“It’s great to have (Bower) back,“ Hernandez said. “It makes us stronger at the bottom. Unfortunately, it’s just so late in the season.”
West Deptford faces Gloucester Catholic today at home and will compete in the Colonial Conference Tournament on Friday. The season comes to a close on Wednesday, as the Eagles host Haddon Heights on Senior Day.