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Emilie Meyer, a tennis player at St. Dominic High School, returned a shot against Nerinx Hall High School. Emilie, a freshman, said she enjoys playing with her sister, Kaylie. “It’s always fun to have her by my side,” Emilie said.
Emilie Meyer, a tennis player at St. Dominic High School, returned a shot against Nerinx Hall High School. Emilie, a freshman, said she enjoys playing with her sister, Kaylie. “It’s always fun to have her by my side,” Emilie said.
Photo Credit: Sid Hastings

Meyers’ hard work typifies St. Dominic tennis

Inexperienced, young team shows maturity on the court

Emilie Meyer of St. Dominic High School reached back and brought forward a smooth stroke on the tennis ball during a doubles game against Nerinx Hall.

Two courts down, her sister, Kaylie Meyer, moved swiftly in the backcourt and confidently attacked balls at the net.

The sisters are part of a 15-member squad that won the Archdiocesan Athletic Association Conference title last month, going 30-0, which coach Mark Borst compared to pitching a perfect game in baseball.

A junior, Kaylie’s eyes widened and smile broadened when talking about the win. “It’s amazing. I’m excited for districts. I want to go to state,” she said.

On-court improvement

St. Dominic High School tennis player Kaylie Meyer returned a shot against Nerinx Hall High School Sept. 27 at the Webster Groves Recreation Complex in Webster Groves. Meyer and her sister Emilie Meyer are part of the team that won the Archdiocesan Athletic Conference title last month, going 30-0.
Photo Credits: Sid Hastings
Kaylie started playing tennis two years ago. It’s a sport that people play for a lifetime, and one in which “you can always improve,” she said.

As a freshman, Kaylie started in the No. 13 slot. She moved up to No. 5 as a sophomore and this year to No. 4. Her hard work is paying off, she said. She focuses year-round on tennis after playing soccer, volleyball and other sports previously.

Emilie, a freshman, also started playing tennis two years ago. She usually tries something new that she’s learned every time she plays, she said.

She’s pleased to have contributed to the team’s success this season. The players form a community, strengthened by outside team activities organized by Borst, including miniature golf and sand volleyball.

Playing with her sister helps, too. “It’s always fun to have her by my side,” Emilie said.

Strong faith

Parishioners at St. Joseph in Cottleville, the Meyer girls see their faith as a part of their sporting life. “I never give up because I know that God’s watching over me. I’m always conscious of good sportsmanship and want to lead by example,” Kaylie said.

Emilie said that team prayers before matches “help me get into that mindset that no matter what happens God is always with me. It helps me to always stay positive.”

It’s a reflection perhaps of their coach, an Ascension in Chesterfield parishioner. “I’m very strong in my faith,” Borst said. “My mom passed away two years ago, Oct. 8. She was a big role model to me. She guides me to be the best person, the best coach I can be. She always asked me how my girls did and how my boys did” at St. John Vianney High School, where he coached before retiring from that post, he said.

Since her death, he attends daily Mass, where he remembers her and gets strength from his prayers.

Secret to success

Emilie attended a team tennis camp during the summer months open to elementary, middle school and high school students. “She’s played a little bit before, but she’s really matured as a player this season,” Borst said.

Kaylie is a team leader, he added. Last season, three seniors played in the first three spots and this season the No. 6 player, Abbi Worster, a sophomore, moved up to No. 1. Worster, sophomore Emily Bross and junior Dana Salman joined the Meyer girls to play in Junior Team Tennis the past year. “They’ve put in a lot of hard work and dedication,” Borst said. “That’s why they’re so successful. They’re young in experience and grade-wise, but with their great work ethic they’re starting to show that St. Dominic will be on the map a while.”

Even though enrollment has increased, St. Dominic’s tennis team didn’t get moved up to play larger schools in a higher class for districts. Borst crafted a difficult schedule for the team anyway, playing larger schools such as Nerinx Hall, Parkway West and Westminster, and is pleased with their response. “It’s made them into better players. I tell them they want to see where they stand by playing the top competition in Missouri. They’ve played very well. Even when they lose a match, they keep upbeat,” he said.

He’s impressed with the team. “It’s been a lot of fun. They’ve been very successful, but it’s because of them,” Borst said. “I love practice because I can work with them. When it’s match time, it’s like a show. They go out and try to execute. I’m here to help them with adjustments. But they’re very smart players. What I like most is even when they’re down, they fight to the last point. I’m very proud of them. They’re humble and they really respect each other.”

An example he gave was Joshna Susai, one of two seniors on the team, who moved up to fill the No. 6 slot due to an injury and came back in a match earlier this season from a 7-1 deficit before losing 8-6.

>> The coach

St. Dominic tennis coach Mark Borst has a passion for tennis, he said, and enjoys teaching “what a great game it is, that it’s a lifetime sport and to have fun.”

Born in Rego Park, N.Y., near where the U.S. Open is played in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., he played four years on the varsity tennis team at Christian Brothers High School in St. Louis. He played college tennis at Belmont Abbey in Belmont, North Carolina, and at Saint Louis University, where he graduated with a finance degree. Borst and his wife, Patti, members of Ascension Parish in Chesterfield, have three children, Claire, 22, a sixth-grade math teacher in Birmingham, Ala.; Tyler, 21, a junior at Missouri State University majoring in marketing; and Katie, 16, who is a junior varsity volleyball player at Visitation Academy.

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