LOUISVILLE — The universal sports language is that of the body.
Give your opponent the slightest inkling that things aren't going right with a slumped shoulder or a dropped head and it could spell doom.
Monarch junior Jenna Nguyen didn't get much from Broomfield's Katie Herby in their season opening dual at No. 1 singles on Tuesday afternoon, but what she got, she made the most of.
In the very first game of the match, Nguyen fought off five break points and after nine deuces won the opening game. And although Herby won the next game to draw even, the tone of the match was set.
"It was huge, especially in those situations where it goes back and forth, it is all about mental toughness and who can push through that," said Nguyen, who went on to win the match in straight sets 6-2, 6-2.
"It's hard to play tennis when you are upset because it affects how you play and if you are not on your toes in your mind, then you are done."
It was a sterling start to the season for Nguyen, who toiled all season long at No. 1's last year and never collected a victory.
There was another epic one game battle that went Nguyen's way to close out the first set. This time on Herby's serve, it again went nine deuces, and Herby — playing her first match at No. 1 singles, after being at No. 2 last year to her credit fended off seven set points before, missed a chance to hold before finally succumbing.
"After gaining all that experience from last year, I was able to play smarter," Nguyen said. "Instead of just smacking the ball and trying to get winners."
Nguyen's victory was just the start for a Monarch team that was beaten 6-1 last season by the Eagles. Junior Madison Risi also scored a three-set win at No. 3 singles 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-4 over Broomfield freshman Olivia Belton.
The Coyotes No. 1 doubles team of Ana Pacheco and Sinead Heaney beat Ana Horvath and Ellie Penner 6-3, 6-3 in the only other match of the day that was able to finish before the clouds opened up on a cold evening.
"I didn't know what to expect, they have been out here and they have been battling hard," said first year Monarch coach Mark Reuter, whose daughter Allie is locked in a three-set marathon with Madi Clements at No. 2 singles.
"They are playing smart tennis."
The match was postponed with Monarch leading 3-0. No make-up date has been set to conclude the remaining four matches, in which Broomfield was leading three.
Eagles head coach Tara Tovar, who like most coaches is still juggling her line-up after just a week of practice, was pleased with her teams effort on a bitterly cold opening night.
"It's not necessarily about winning and losing, it's more about are our partners in the right place and do we have the right teams together," she said. "It is a measuring stick. We are trying to see what works for our team and what doesn't and it is obvious that we have 11 really strong players.
"We just need to figure out the right combination for the success of our team."
Monarch leads Broomfield 3-0
Match postponed due to rain
Singles — 1. Jenna Nguyen, Monarch def. Katie Herby, 6-2, 6-2; 2. Madi Clements, Broomfield leads Allie Reuter, 4-6, 7-6, 2-1; 3. Madison Risi, Monarch def. Olivia Benton, 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-4.
Doubles — 1. Ana Pacheco/Sinead Heaney, Monarch def. Ana Horvath/Ellie Penner, 6-3, 6-3; 2. Alison Horvath.Sydnie Ho, Broomfield lead Mikayla Dudek/Sarah Mautz, 7-6, 2-3; 3. Jana Gresser/Mari Pacheco, Monarch lead Jenna Ireland/Gillian Hause, 6-4, 5-6; 4. Molly Conroy/Melia Marquez, Broomfield lead Kenzie Nelson/Sam Malott, 6-1, 0-0.