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Means sisters leading team to new heights

Sarah and Elizabeth Means are less than a
year apart in age.
The Means sisters live in the same dorm,
play on the tennis team together, and last year,
they were 10-5 in doubles.
“I started when I was about 4,” Sara
Means said. “I had a recommendation from
someone who saw me playing with something
and thought that I had good eye-hand
coordination. They suggested to my mom that
I should try it.”
As for Elizabeth, she started playing
because she helped out her older sister on the
court.
“I started picking up balls behind her and
getting into it myself,” Elizabeth said.
They also have two older sisters who play
tennis recreationally. Their connection with
their two older sisters is just as close as theirs.
Sometimes they get mistaken for quadruplets.
Tennis spread to the rest of the family once
Sarah and Elizabeth started, rather than the
parents starting the trend.
“Once we got into it when we were
younger, it became a family sport,” Sara said.
“They defi nitely were heavily involved not
necessarily in terms of hitting and technique,
but fi nancial support and driving to events.”
In 2010, when Sarah was a junior in high
school and Elizabeth was a sophomore, they
led their team to the state championship and
won the overall doubles title. Not only was
this a big accomplishment for them, but also
for their high school. Their team was the fi rst
team in school history to advance to a state
championship.
This was not only an accomplishment for
the school, but also for the Meanses.
“It defi nitely was really exciting,” Elizabeth
said. “Coming here and playing together at
that level really prepared us and mentally
made us focus on what we can do together.”
Their win in high school proved their
compatibility on the court that continues to
grow and help them win today.
“A lot of it has to do with the amount of
time they have been playing together,” head
coach Courtney Vernon said. “They know
what each other are going to do a lot of the
times before they even do it.”
When asked a question, it only takes one
look for them to communicate who will answer
it. They build off each other’s comments as if
one did not even interrupt the other; almost as
if they shared the same thought.
“Liz wears her heart on her sleeve and
is very outgoing while Sarah is the more
reserved one,” Vernon said. “They are both
extremely intelligent girls, but they just
display that in totally different ways. It is
actually very comical.”
They like to spend whatever time
they have together, which also helps with
communication on the court in tournaments
and at practice.
“Just knowing each other helps,” Sarah
said. “We go out extra together and we know
each other’s games very well.”
Last year, Sarah was the No. 1 singles
player on the Atlantic Sun All-Conference
second team and Elizabeth was on the Atlantic
Sun All-Freshman team. Just this year, Sarah
won the backdraw match at the Bedford Cup
held earlier this month. They are 2-3 in doubles
so far this season.
“They are both very aggressive,” Vernon
said. “They just go out and they do work. They
focus on the important things and they don’t
get caught up in externals.”
The Meanses bring a lot to the tennis team,
and Vernon sums them up in just one phrase:
“They are just good together.”

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