EDWARDSVILLE – Edwardsville High School hosted Normal High School, Quincy High School, and Columbia Rockbridge ladies tennis teams for the Southern Illinois Duals. The Tigers won two out of three dual matches with one 6-3 loss to a strong Columbia Rockbridge Team. The two singles wins came from two seniors, Grace Kalb and the team's number two, Hannah Colbert.

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Colbert’s hard-hitting and fast-paced 6-2, 6-4 victory was the first singles match to finish. When asked about her convincing win, the senior said, “It felt good. I was struggling in the middle of the match. I focused on keeping on making my shots. Jonathan (Edwardsville’s Assistant Coach) helped me stay positive. I was happy to pull it out.”

Colbert is the iCAN Clinic Female Athlete of the Month for Edwardsville High School.

Colbert’s match didn’t finish fast because it was lopsided it ended quickly because the girls played at a blazing pace. The match-up at number two singles was a clash of two big hitters. Colbert’s coaches say that she thrives against opponents who hit a big ball. “Yeah, that is true,” Colbert said. “I don’t know why but I feel better when there is pace coming back at me. Some things need working on, but I think I hit my backhand well today.”

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In what head coach, Dave Lipe, called her “best singles match of her career,” Colbert believes that the best part of her game was not her physical game but her mental game. “It was more of me staying positive. It was not my strokes that helped me win as much as staying in the fight.” That fight is going to be needed moving forward with the rest of the Tigers' season.

The black and orange have the Lockport Invitational in Chicago before their 2021 Conference and Sectional tournaments. One thing that excites Colbert is the opportunity to see how much she and the other conference schools have improved since their first meeting. “I’m excited to see all those teams again, especially O’Fallon and Belleville East. We’ve improved, they’ve improved, so it’s going to be fun to see how it goes. O’Fallon beat us last time so, we would like a chance to beat them.”

As for Colbert and her plans for tennis after college, she says, “wherever I go, whether it’s for the team or the school’s club team, I’ll keep playing tennis.” Colbert’s mental strength and general approach to sports will make her a leader for her future teammates and coaches. Her refined mental fortitude likely comes from her parents, the coaching staff of Edwardsville’s tennis team, and her dad who is one of Edwardsville’s best football coaches, Craig Colbert. “He knows how to say the coach things to me. He can step out of being a family member to be a coach, and it’s nice to hear it from that perspective. “

Colbert still has tennis left before officially wrapping up her Edwardsville tennis career. The Tigers have conferences, Sectionals, and finally State. Colbert will likely conclude her time with the black and orange at number one doubles alongside her doubles partner, Alyssa Wise. To catch Colbert and Wise compete in the Conference tournament, visit O’Fallon High School the weekend of October 8th and 9th.

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