Corinne Dixon has learned that playing tennis can be uncomfortable at times.
The first-singles player for the Hilliard Bradley High School girls team focuses on a strategy of taking risks to defeat opponents on the court. The plan of action has become necessary since she faces the best player each opposing team has to offer in every match.
"It's definitely more difficult in first singles because you're playing the best of every team," said Dixon, a senior who was 4-5 on the season after the Jaguars defeated Gahanna 3-2 on Sept. 10. "Whether the team's good or bad, they have a good player at first singles.
"Last year, I learned a lot about how to beat the people who are better than you, at least on paper.
"It's important to go for your shots and hit the ones that you aren't the most comfortable with. You have to reach out of your comfort zone and go for things you might not do otherwise in order to win the point."
For Dixon, that comes from working to paint the lines instead of making a safe return to the center of the court.
"I like to keep (the ball) in a lot, but better players can keep it in, too," she said. "You have to go for winners. You have to hit the lines."
Coach Colleen Baker said Dixon is good at making quick decisions on the court that help her win those points.
"In first singles, it's all about playing smart and hitting the right shot," said Baker, whose team was 2-7 overall before playing Pickerington Central on Sept. 11 and is 1-3 in the OCC-Cardinal Division. "You have a lot more room to hit (in singles) because you don't have someone blocking you like in doubles.
"For Corinne, she has to think about whether she's hitting their forehand, their backhand, their slice, their drop shots or whatever. All of that plays into her game. She has to adjust quickly if someone is slamming her second serve or if someone starts hitting with more of a spin. She thinks about how can she change and adapt to that."
Dixon also uses her wits in the classroom, where she maintains a 4.7 GPA. She wants to study at Carnegie Mellon, Cincinnati or Ohio State, with an eye on majoring in computer science and engineering.
"The main thing about Corinne is her leadership on the court," Baker said. "It's her acting and behaving correctly, and showing what it takes to be a leader and what it takes to be a Jaguar. She is positive all of the time. She won't give up if she drops the first set and she will fight back for herself and her team.
"She is extremely quick. She can always get something on the ball and get it back. She can get it back in play. There's not a lot of times she's hitting the ball long or wide. She's always willing to fight for every single ball or every single shot."
Dixon said her court experience has thrust her into a leadership role for the Jaguars.
"I want to be a leader and lead by example," she said. "I want to make sure everyone feels included and we have a good team bond and support each other. I want to create that vibe for the team. We're a young team, so it's a lot about who's working together with doubles and also just developing our skills overall.
"Coach helps because she brings a lot to the table because she still plays competitive tennis. She know the strategies, she knows the form and she knows what to work on in practice. She has helped me a lot with my serves because I have been having some trouble keeping it in and with good form."
Boys soccer team has strong start
The boys soccer team was 4-1-1 overall before playing Beavercreek on Sept. 11 and is 1-0-1 in the OCC-Cardinal.
The Jaguars lost their season opener to Davidson 1-0 on Aug. 17, but were unbeaten in their next five games.
Mauricio Cruz-Ramirez and Ethan Love both scored in a 2-1 win over Thomas Worthington on Aug. 28 in Bradley's league opener, and Jordan Mendez scored as the Jaguars tied first-year Olentangy Berlin at 1 on Sept. 4 in league play.
Through six games, Mendez and Avery Ramsey led Bradley with three goals apiece and Chris Crock had two. Goalkeeper Musa Musa had 25 saves.
Decker leads girls team in scoring
Andrea Decker led the girls soccer team in scoring through five games.
The senior midfielder had four goals for the Jaguars, who were 2-2-1 overall before playing Beavercreek on Sept. 10. Bradley is 1-0-1 in the OCC-Cardinal.
Macy Enneking and Avery Jantonio both had two goals through five games, and goalie Emily Keck had 14 saves.
Below are the coming schedules for the Bradley cross country, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 15 -- Boys: Cedarville Friendship Invitational; Girls: Galion Festival at Amann Reservoir
Sept. 13 -- Davidson and Grove City at Heritage
Sept. 18 -- Dublin Scioto and Grove City at Pinnacle
Sept. 13 -- Grove City at Oakhurst
Sept. 19 -- Davidson at Darby Creek
*Sept. 13 -- At Worthington Kilbourne
*Sept. 18 -- Home vs. Delaware
*Sept. 13 -- Home vs. Kilbourne
*Sept. 18 -- At Delaware
*Sept. 13 -- Home vs. Darby
*Sept. 18 -- Home vs. Thomas Worthington
Sept. 19 -- Home vs. Grove City
*Sept. 13 -- Home vs. Darby
*Sept. 15 -- Kilbourne Invitational
Sept. 19 -- Home vs. Upper Arlington