The Student News Site of Center Grove High School


The Student News Site of Center Grove High School


The Student News Site of Center Grove High School


Double trouble

Seniors Ava Beecher and Lauren Dick, Center Grove’s No. 1 doubles, attempt to turn their passion into postseason victory ahead of their match against Union County
Manas Kamath
Senior Ava Beecher serves the ball in the game against Columbus North on April 24, while senior Lauren Dick gets ready for the return. The duo would record a decisive victory that would hand the Trojans a 3-2 win against the Bulldogs.

Whack. As senior Lauren Dick serves the ball with pace, she readies herself for a return as senior Ava Beecher parries it back to her in one of their fiery exchanges. Nobody is at the tennis courts but them, and the passion they show on the court is only interrupted by the occasional water break. Like flint and steel, they perfectly complement each other, sharpening each other’s skills in the wait for another game.

Because, when the time comes, flint and steel can make a lot more than just a spark. It can start a fire.

In order for this fire to start taking shape, however, halfway through their junior season, both Beecher and Dick had to step outside their usual roles on the girls tennis team and work as a pair.

“We didn’t officially play [together] until junior year last season, and it was a quick change to compile the strongest team to beat Franklin, which is our rival in sectionals,” Dick said.

Despite the sudden change, Dick and Beecher, who were previously No. 1 and No. 2 singles on the team, forged a personal bond that eased the transition.

“I think just getting to know her throughout the years has really just grown our relationship,” Beecher said. “I think we both have the same work ethic, and that really helps because we’re both dying to win. You can see that passion on the court when [we’re] playing and even on the court. If I’m having a rough time, she’s helpful and she knows how to coach me through it, and I think that goes both ways, just knowing what gets through to each other.”

Also helping the bond was a shared passion and intensity for the game, which has helped keep the pair honest with each other.

“I feel like on the tennis court, I can be pretty loud and intimidating, so it’s good to have someone I know can get in my face and get me up and keep me working hard throughout the match,” Dick said. “I feel like we really feed off each other, so as long as one of us is super positive and working hard, we match that energy and keep it up.”

Using this personal bond, both Beecher and Dick were able to use last year’s wins against top 10 opponents to create momentum for this year.

“Junior year, when we started playing doubles, we started winning some good matches,” Beecher said. “Lawrence North was one of the first main ones; that was really big [because] they are a top 10 team. I think Carmel last year, the day before prom, we won that match [against] the No.1 team in the state. [It was] a huge win, and I think we saw that this has great potential.”

This season, both Dick and Beecher tried different positions in the lineup, but they eventually settled into their doubles role once again because of the tactical advantages they share, which has seen them gain victories against No.14 Columbus North and No. 7 Carmel.

“It really helps weaknesses and strengths go along with someone else’s weaknesses and strengths,” Beecher said. “For instance, Lauren’s super athletic and fast. I‘m not a natural athlete, so her speed really just helps go along with the both of us. Ground strokes are some of her strengths, [while] some of my strengths are at the net. I’ve been struggling with serving this year, so she’s come through with serving, and it’s allowed it to ‘click’.”

The “click” Beecher references not only affected the doubles pairing but also resonated throughout the team. Although the team as a whole lost in last week’s sectional against Franklin Central 4-1, the duo has tried to instill a lasting work ethic and determination in the team.

“I’ve never seen a duo like us, always working: after practice, before practice, warming up before matches, going out to night sessions, private lessons,” Beecher said. “I think the team realizes how hard we work, at least I hope so. I think at practices when things get a little silly, which they can, that’s the fun of sports, but when it gets to a point, I think Lauren and I are good at reeling it back in. We have a goal, and we need to focus on practice to reach our goal.”

In the more immediate future, however, Beecher and Dick will host Union County’s No. 1 Doubles, who are 10-2 on the season, at home tonight at 5, to start their campaign for a potential doubles team state title.

“There is a lot of pressure,” Beecher said. “People know who we’ve beat, so it’s like, ‘I want to beat the girl who beat Carmel. I want to beat the girl that beat Cathedral.’ That leaves a lot of stress on me, so it gets in my head, and I’m really working on getting that out of my head. Right now we have nothing to lose, and we didn’t win state last year or anything, so we’ve just got to go out there and see how far we can go.”

How far the duo will go will depend on their skill and their ability to build upon the connection they have forged over the past two seasons because the state tournament will have challenges and teams both Beecher and Dick have not faced yet this season.

However, the opposite is also true. Because in their quest for the state title, Beecher and Dick, like flint and steel, will create sparks, and with these sparks, will start fires.

It will be up to the rest to stop them.

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About the Contributor
Gourav Pany
Gourav Pany, Website Editor
Junior Gourav Pany has been on staff for three years. He started his Publications career in his freshman year when writing stories about fantasy football and school features. Pany is a website editor and is currently working on sports and student features for the website, along with weekly sports previews. Pany would like to note that he likes writing, sports (especially soccer) and running.
You can overcome anything, if and only if you love something enough. -Lionel Messi

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    Rebecca NicholsMay 23, 2024 at 10:38 am

    Awesome playing so proud of Ava and my Granddaughter Lauren!! I will be there to cheer you on June 1st!