Athens sophomore’s future bright after reaching tennis districts

Posted on:

< < Back to

ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — Athens Sophomore Vlada Kiryukhin lost in the first round of the Southeast District Tournament. Despite the loss, the future looks bright for the Athens High sophomore.

Kiryukhin is only in her second year playing tennis. Last year’s state qualifier Anna Chen mentored her for one season, and they were able to practice a few times over the summer. Chen and Kiryukhin warmed up together before districts.

“Vlada has really improved her play,” said Athens head coach Dana Morehead. “She came up with an upset win last week at sectionals against a senior from Circleville and all her hard work is starting to pay off.”

The stakes are even higher this year as she was the only player from Athens at the tournament. She came into the tournament as the 6th seed and took on 3rd seed Kathryn Nelson from Notre Dame High school.

Kiryukhin said her main goal for the tournament was “to get in the right mindset.”

In their match, Nelson started out hot, taking an early double break and stretching her lead to 5-0 in the first set.

Kiryukhin fought back as she was able to hold serve and then break Nelson’s serve bringing it to 5-3 forcing Nelson to serve out the set. The set ended 6-3 and both players took the two minute break to reset and talk strategy with their coaches.

Nelson started the second set with an easy hold and used the previous set’s momentum to force a break to take a quick 3-0 lead. Kiryukhin then held serve to keep the set close but couldn’t find a way to crack Nelson’s serve and the set ended with Nelson taking the set 6-2.

Even though Kiryukhin was eliminated in the first round of districts, hope is high as the other seven players in the draw were three seniors and four juniors. One of those juniors was Meredith Riley of South Point High School who was the district champion last year as a sophomore.