Girls from Down Under

Girls From 'Down Under' Rank On Top

By Gretchen Hunt
Originally Published In the Herald
February 10, 1998

Sandra Meichsner and Kylie Kemsley might call Australia home, but Arkansas State University is proud to claim them.

Together they are the number 28 tennis doubles team in the nation.

The two are ranked among teams from universities such as Georgia, Notre Dame, Duke and UCLA.

Meichsner, a senior of Melbourne, Australia, said receiving national rankings was one of her greatest moments at ASU. She was ranked as a singles player two years ago.

"Getting this doubles one has been great," she said. "That's always been one of my goals."

Kemsley, a senior of Brisbane, Australia, said she shares her teammate's excitement.

"It feels really good, like we've accomplished something," she said. "With all the work put in, it's like we're finally getting some recognition."

Coach Marcia Williams said Kemsley and Meichsner make a very good doubles team because they are both good singles players.

"They both are aggressive," she said. "They both like to play at the net."

Meichsner agreed she and Kemsley make good partners because they share a style of play.

"We're both really strong players, and we're both really aggressive players," she said. "So, we do really good together."

Kemsley said the team's strongest attribute is probably their ability to communicate with each other and their love of the game.

"Neither one of us put pressure on the other, so it's not a big chore to us," she said. "We sort of enjoy it."

Both said individual strengths help the team as well.

"Serve and volley is my main game plan," Meichsner said.

Williams agreed Meichsner has a very strong serve.

"Kendra is 6 feet, and she has a big serve," she said. "She's left handed, and that's different."

Kemsley contributes her own strengths to form the winning combination.

"My forehand is probably my biggest weapon," she said.

Meichsner has been named all-conference in singles and doubles play the past three years, and she said she hopes the team will receive conference honors as well.

"If we keep up our performance and get some really good wins under our belt, we'll hopefully get all-conference," she said.

Meichsner, an exercise science major, came to ASU as a freshman, and Williams said Meichsner's playing style has developed and improved through the years.

"You learn to stay aggressive," Williams said. "The level in division I is just below professional."

The two must stay aggressive both on the court and in training.

Williams said the team practices two hours each day through the week. They run and lift weights after practice and condition on their own, she said.

Williams said the two always concentrate on the game at hand.

"Every time they have a match it's a challenge," she said. "Especially this season, we have a great schedule."

Kemsley said she takes each match as it comes, but one last season stands out in her memory.

"It was the first time I beat a nationally-ranked player," she said. "She was from Houston, and she was ranked high."

Kemsley, who is also an exercise science major, will play in her last season with ASU next year.

She said her main goal as a senior is to try to set an example for the rest of the team.

Starting with their game Saturday, the team will play about two matches a weekend.

Meichsner said because of this season's difficult schedule, she has a broad goal to "keep playing well and try as a team to win as many matches as possible."

Meichsner said she also has a more specific goal in mind.

"If Kylie and I can keep up our wins, hopefully we'll be able to go to nationals," she said.