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Sophomore Lindsay Riordan went 23-1 playing No. 2 singles for the Hand girls’ tennis team this year, helping the Tigers put together an undefeated season that featured a pair of championships. (Photo courtesy of Lindsay Riordan )
Lindsay Riordan loves the dual nature of high school tennis and how it’s a game that emphasizes both the team and individual aspects. This spring, Lindsay put together a sensational sophomore campaign while receiving plenty of support from her colleagues on the Hand girls’ tennis team.
Lindsay has been playing tennis since her family moved to Madison when she was five. This year, Lindsay competed out of the No. 2 singles position during a special season for both herself and the Tigers. Lindsay finished the year with a record of 23-1 to earn All-SCC honors, as well as a spot on the New Haven Register’s All-Area Team. She also helped Hand post a record of 24-0 on its way to winning its third-straight SCC crown and the team’s second Class M state title in the past three seasons.
“I played on USTA teams growing up, and my teammates had a big impact on me. I like how it is a team and individual sport,” says Lindsay, who also reached the second round of the singles draw at the State Open Championship. “I wouldn’t have had the success individually, and we wouldn’t have the year we had as a team without everyone being so close. When you look around and see the support of the parents and teammates, it made this team really special.”
Lindsay says that competing on the same team as her sister, junior No. 1 singles player Sam Riordan, provided a calming feeling for her on the court. Lindsay feels that the connections among everyone on Hand’s roster proved a crucial factor in the team’s perfect campaign.
“One thing that helped us this year was the fact that we’ve known each other forever,” Lindsay says. “We were a small team with 13 people, but we became close off the court. If we weren’t as close as we ended up being, we wouldn’t see the same success in winning SCCs and states.”
Lindsay has played in her fair share of high-stakes matchups while helping Hand claim multiple championships during the past few seasons. There’s plenty of pressure when titles are on the line, but Lindsay takes comfort in the fact that each match is just as important as the next one.
“I used to get nervous in big matches, but after my experience last year helped me,” says Lindsay. “Also, each of our seven matches count equally, and I have my teammates backing me up. No. 1 singles doesn’t count any more than No. 3 doubles.”
Lindsay knows how difficult it can be to push through for that pivotal point when locked in a three-set marathon. If something goes wrong, Lindsay has the presence of mind to shake it off instantly and get ready for the next serve.
“I’ve gotten better with the pressure of a match and not letting mistakes get to me when I do things like miss the ball,” Lindsay says. “I just tell myself to move on, and it’s helped calm me down. A lot of that is where the success comes from, too.”
Head Coach Kitty Palmer praises Lindsay for the mental strength that she displays on the court. Palmer adds that Lindsay’s ability to fire away from the baseline is a tremendous asset in her game.
“Lindsay’s ground strokes led to many winners in her matches, but more than her tennis talent, she was mentally strong,” says Palmer. “She doesn’t get the notoriety, but the team and I know how much Lindsay means to our success. She had an amazing season.”
Lindsay still has two seasons remaining as a Tigers’ tennis player. Lindsay looks forward to helping Hand continue its undefeated streak as the team tries to defends its two titles next spring.
“Next year, I hope to continue playing at No. 2 singles, and I’d like to move up to No. 1 singles after Sam graduates,” Lindsay says. “We are losing our senior captain Catherine Aranow, but we have some girls coming up, and we hope to keep up our success with winning SCCs and states.”