Hope Lighty and Sophie Reimondo are taking Southmont tennis to new heights. For the first time since 1996 Lighty and Reimondo will represent Southmont in the girls tennis regional.
The No. 1 doubles team carries an 11-3 record into Saturday and advanced to the regional after posting a perfect 2-0 record during team sectional play.
“I’m really excited to move on, because we’ve been working hard all season,” Reimondo said.
With a 5-0 team win over Parke Heritage and a narrow 3-2 loss to North Montgomery in the sectional final, the Mounties came within one match point of their first sectional title in 23 years. Lighty and Reimondo advanced though with a 6-4, 6-1 win over the Chargers’ Caitlin Fedor and Karli Fidler.
“Our goal is always to get a sectional team victory and we came very close this year,” Southmont coach Rob Reimondo said. “It is satisfying that our No. 1 doubles team was able to make it through the sectional and go onto the regional. I’ve seen a lot of growth in their play — not only this year, but the last several years, and I couldn’t be happier with where they are.”
Lighty, a senior, moved to doubles this season after playing singles in past years.
“I prefer playing doubles because I like playing with Sophie,” she said. “It’s definitely a different game and you have to adjust.”
Both girls agree they think and play very similar to each other, and Reimondo sees her veteran teammate push her toward success.
“Hope is really good at pushing me,” the junior said. “She encourages me a lot.”
Lighty feels like the duo works well together and that has led to their elevated play this season.
“We really like playing together and I think we work well together and when times get hard we both really focus in and finish it out,” she said. “We both try hard and care about the sport.”
Coach Reimondo sees a perfect combination between Sophie and Hope.
“They are very comfortable with each other,” he said. “They do a nice job of picking each other up when the other is maybe having some trouble. They think frequently as one and that’s very important in doubles play. They are a good combination because both girls are very aggressive. Hope is consistent, hitting deep, firm shots which often sets up Sophie to come in and finish off the rally with an exclamation point.”
Lighty and Reimondo will take on Sydney Jacobsen and Jordan Johnson of Lafayette Harrison at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Kokomo. Coach Reimondo is proud of his No. 1 doubles team and is excited to see what they can do against top-level competition.
“They are the last tennis players standing in the county,” he said. “They are in the sweet-sixteen of No. 1 doubles in the state, so they are going to have some very very tough competition. So what I hope to see from them on Saturday is that they’re giving it their all and that they’re competitive.”