ROGERS -- Erica Jaggernauth made a splash at the state tennis tournament in Oklahoma last year as a sophomore. She'll try to do the same in Arkansas in a couple of weeks.
The lithe 16-year-old covers the entire court to extend rallies and made an immediate impact playing No. 1 singles for Rogers High. She's unbeaten in singles play heading into today's 7A-West Conference tournament and is the top seed in the girls singles draw. The start of the tournament was delayed Wednesday because of rain, and the finals are now scheduled for Friday at Springdale Har-Ber.
Name: Erica Jaggernauth
School: Rogers High
Notable: Moved to Rogers from Bixby, Okla. over the summer. … Finished as Class 6A state runner-up at No. 2 singles as a sophomore. … Heads into postseason play undefeated and the No. 1 seed in girls singles in the 7A-West Conference tournament.
Roger girls tennis coach Matthew Fulton heard about Jaggernauth last spring when her father, an oncologist, moved to Rogers from Bixby, Okla. The youth finished her sophomore year in Oklahoma and took second at No. 2 singles in the Class 6A state tennis tournament.
Fulton said she's been a great addition to an already talented team both on and off the court.
"Having someone like her move in and provide us with a No. 1 singles player is big," Fulton said. "She's has all the shots you'd want a player like her to have, and I couldn't be happier to have a player like her on the team.
"She's one of those gifted people who can play corner to corner. She likes spin and recognizes if she uses spin and if she can run all the balls down, she's going to give everyone a challenge. When Erica came in, she's been interested in learning about the team and being part of the team. I've been fortunate that it's felt like she's been on our team more than just one year."
The junior is more content to remain at the baseline and utilize her athleticism and variety of shots to win points, Fulton said. But she's capable of coming to the net.
"It's probably not her strength, but I've seen her volley in doubles," Fulton said. "She likes the groundstrokes and is a baseline player. She can move left and right pretty well. Long rallies aren't a problem for her."
Jaggernauth said her tennis game has improved from a year ago and the sport has helped her fit in nicely at a new school. She started running in the summer to build more endurance, and she also started eating healthier.
"It's nice that I am part of a team," Jaggernauth said. "I'm already part of the school, and I have new friends. My consistency has gotten better, and I've gained more muscle, and mentally, I've just gotten stronger."
Fulton has been pleased with the way she's overcome the small bits of adversity she's encountered so far.
"Nothing seems to rattle her," Fulton said. "Like any athlete, everyone has to get through their rough times. But she seems to be able to forget the bad shots and get back and reset again."
She's still pushing to get physically stronger, but her game also still needs work.
"I need to get mentally stronger and not let my own emotions get to me," Jaggernauth said. "For my tennis game, just be more consistent and be a little more aggressive with my shots, too. It is tougher knowing that you have to do bigger, do more, and you can't just hit the easy shots. You have to hit better shots."
Fulton said she reminds him of another former Rogers standout, Catherine Tang. She and her sister, Tiffany, won state doubles titles not long ago.
"She has the same build. She's very fast," Fulton said. "Very good mental game and she's consistent. She knows when to hit hard and when to keep it in play. And she's coachable because she can do all those things."
He's also hoping Jaggernauth can have something else in common with Tang soon. That's helping the Lady Mounties to a state team title.
Sports on 10/05/2017
Print Headline: Jaggernauth makes big addition for Lady Mounties tennis