LIBERTY — Liberty’s Rebecca Floray refused to let an early loss deter her at the Missouri High School Activities Association Class 3 girls tennis championships on Thursday and Friday, Oct. 15-16 at Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield.
The senior’s determination paid off as she battled through the consolation bracket to earn an eighth-place medal, her third state medal in her Blue Jay career.
Floray lost her first match 6-2, 6-0 against Peyton Koper of Raymore-Peculiar, who would end up placing fourth in Class 3.
She benefited from a no-show to advance past the consolation quarterfinals before she dropped the first set 6-1 in her consolation quarterfinals match against Thrisha Kosaraju of Lafayette Wildwood.
Floray’s high school career looked like it might come to an unceremonious end . Floray kept telling herself that she’d either rally back from down a set or her high school tennis career would be over.
“I was surprisingly calm given the circumstances,” Floray said.
The Liberty senior remained cool and collected as she powered back to win the next set 6-3 before taking the third set in a 14-12 tiebreaker. Her win earned her an eighth-place medal, her third state medal and first as a singles competitor.
She showed the confidence that could be expected from a two-time state medal winner, but Floray has not always felt confident in her abilities as a singles player.
Floray said that winning in singles had extra significance because she was so unsure of what would happen when her doubles partner Samantha Seggerman graduated last season. Seggerman was Floray’s partner through both previous state medalist performances for Floray.
“I no longer had a definite doubles partner,” Floray said. “I was so confused in the offseason, whether I was going to choose doubles or singles.”
Floray said that early season wins over strong players she had admired during past seasons gave her the confidence boost she needed to play at high enough level during her senior season to advance to state.
“They were extremely close matches against absolutely phenomenal players,” Floray said. “I came out with a win in those (despite going in) thinking that I never had a chance of winning.”
Floray lost the final two matches of her high school career with 6-0, 6-3 result in the consolation semifinal and 6-3, 6-0 in the seventh-place match.