BENTONVILLE -- It only seemed logical that Kendra Dinsmore and Mallory Tabler were the favorites to win the Class 7A state girls doubles tennis title this year.
The Bentonville duo had earned runnerup finishes in two of the last three years, and the team that beat them those times was gone. They also knew, however, that the road wouldn't be an easy one and that the doubles competition was a little more wide-open than in years past.
All-NWA Media Girls Tennis Doubles Team Of The Year
Kendra Dinsmore and Mallory Tabler
Class: Both are seniors
Notable: The two combined to compile a 22-0 record this fall and won the Class 7A and state overall girls doubles titles after finishing as the state 7A runnerup two of the last three seasons. … Both are headed to play college tennis as Dinsmore has signed with Arkansas-Fort Smith while Tabler is weighing out options between Arkansas Tech and Ouachita Baptist.
"Going through the season, we still had so much competition," Dinsmore said. "It was like there was a huge target on our backs. We knew all these other teams were stepping up, and they wanted just as bad as we did. Those teams were tough competition, but those teams just made us stronger."
The two seniors took destiny in their hands and went on to compile a perfect 22-0 record. Not only did they win the Class 7A state doubles title, but they went on to cap their season by winning the doubles title in the state overall tennis tournament.
That's why Dinsmore and Tabler were also the logical choice to be named the girls doubles team of the year by NWA Media.
"If you could look at the body of work these girls have put in, the ups and downs and the journey they went on," Bentonville tennis coach Nick Nersesian said. "They leaned on each other, they leaned on me and I leaned on them. We talked and worked through stuff.
"It was such a blessing to work with these two young ladies, and it was nice for them to be able to close out this chapter of life on a championship. That record was a testament to their hard work and dedication."
One of the few bumps the two girls had to endure came during the annual Cancer Challenge match against Rogers High. Everything started off on the wrong foot, and they ended up dropping the first set of their match that day.
Nersesian didn't like what he saw, so pulled the two to the side and admitted that he "made them cry" with what he had to say during between sets. Whatever was said worked because they regrouped and won that match.
"Losing a set was really a reality check for both of us," Tabler said. "It allowed us to refocus for the rest of the season.
"When you're on a doubles team, you really have to work together and communicate. That's what we did at the break. We communicated and talked out our issues because it's a doubles team, and you can't rely on yourself. You have to depend on your partner and pick her up."
The two players will be headed their separate ways as they continue their tennis careers on the collegiate level as Dinsmore has already signed her national letter of intent with Arkansas-Fort Smith. Tabler has yet to sign, but she said she's weighing out her options between Ouachita Baptist and Arkansas Tech.
Sports on 12/23/2014
Print Headline: Third Time Becomes Charm For Bentonville Doubles Team