Sister act: Grand Junction helps coach top sister, Central in sweep

Photo by Dean Humphrey—Grand Junction coach Carol Elliott, left, goofs off with her sister, Central coach Kathy Elliott, before the teams’ dual Thursday.

Photo by Dean Humphrey—Grand Junction’s Alex Proietti returns a shot Thursday during her 6-4, 6-1 victory over Central’s Jamie Johnson at No. 2 singles.

Emmie Madison could only imagine what it was like for her coach.

Carol Elliott, the Grand Junction High School tennis coach, was coaching the Tigers against the person she learned the sport from — her sister, Kathy Elliott.

“I can imagine it would be tough, but it kind of adds to it,” Madison said. “Brother, sister rivalries are kind of fun. You want to beat your brothers and sisters, but I can imagine it’s hard playing similar styles.”

Madison and the Tigers made it easier for Carol with a 7-0 victory over Central on Thursday at Central High School.

Although the sisters teased each other before the dual started, it was tough going against each other again.

“We don’t like competing against each other,” Carol said. “We did it all growing up. You get to a point you had enough and want to be on the same side, but our approach is we’re all here for the girls and the tennis community. We know a lot of the Central kids and Kathy knows a lot of the Junction kids because we do a lot of summer things together.”

The Tigers, with several new players in doubles and girls playing singles for the first time, swept all seven matches in straight sets, but the Warriors, with several new players themselves, pushed Grand Junction — especially at No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles.

Grand Junction’s Samantha Weinberg defeated a pesky Katie Murphy 7-6 (7-4), 7-5 at No. 3 singles and Kylie Pond and Margeaux Prinster held on for a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Kelsey Sloan and Farron Mock.

Grand Junction No. 2 singles player Alex Proietti overcame a tough first set to defeat Jamie Johnson 6-4, 6-1.

Proietti, who has two brothers, couldn’t imagine what it would be like coaching against a sibling.

“I can’t imagine it,” Proietti said. “Coaching in itself would be tough enough, then going against a sibling would be pretty crazy because they’re in your head.

“It’s definitely interesting having sisters coaching against each other. Really, the way we looked at it as another match that we had to come out and be tough. It didn’t matter who was playing or coaching.”

Madison and her No. 1 double partner, Madison Gurley, defeated Nikki Keeling and Ashley Wells 6-1, 6-0.

“(Carol Elliott) really wanted us to come out and win and I didn’t want to let her down,” Madison said. “I know none of the other girls did either.”

Kathy Elliott said that attitude makes the Tigers competitive even with a lack of experience this season.

“That’s what I’m so impressed with the Tigers this year,” Kathy said. “They’re going to compete with everybody, even though they lost some key players from last year. They have the attitude that comes with being a winner every year and that attitude carries you pretty far. We’re a couple seasons from earning that, but we’re on the right track.”

Kathy coached Greeley West for 17 years before retiring from teaching and moving back to the Grand Valley. She took over the Central program this year with the help of her brother, David Elliott.

“I look forward to having a more competitive product and I think we’ll grow into that, but we’ve got a little ways to go,” Kathy said. “Our girls can play a little tennis, but they can’t compete quite yet. I’ll look forward to that because I’d really like to see how we get along if we can get our girls to that level.”


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