Westminster's Alex Bailey on 38-match winning streak
Nobody defeats Westminster tennis player Alex Bailey anymore. Nobody, that is, except her dad.
It's nothing to be ashamed of. Bill Bailey, a 6-foot-7 left-hander, also played at Westminster and went on to compete in national tournaments. Alex, however, said she's closing the gap on her 48-year-old father.
“I've never beaten him,” said Bailey, a Franklin Regional graduate. “I have a feeling it's going to happen soon. It's definitely one of my goals. If I do beat him, he'll have the excuse that he's getting older.”
For now, Bailey is more concerned with continuing a superb senior season in which she's 13-0at first singles and first doubles for the unbeaten Titans. In singles, she has lost only one set and has won 144 of 168 games. Dating to her sophomore year, she has won 38consecutive matches.
“She's a perfectionist,” Westminster coach Scott Renninger said. “She doesn't have a dominant serve or dominant power, but she's extremely consistent. It doesn't matter if it's close or not, she's focused.”
Renninger, whose coaching background is primarily in football, credits Bill Bailey with Alex's development. Alex is the oldest of three tennis-playing sisters, and they've spent countless hours training with their father.
“I can't even remember how young I was when I started playing,” she said. “We were on the courts almost every day. He taught me the mental aspect of the game, that even if you're losing, you have to keep your focus.”
Alex hasn't dealt with a loss since dropping a three-setter in the Presidents' Athletic Conference tournament semifinals Oct. 22, 2010. And that came with an injured ankle.
Since then, the wins keep coming, and she's cemented her place atop the Westminster record books.
Her 63 career singles wins are tied for first all-time, and her 63 doubles victories are No. 1.
“I can't lie, it's nice to win all these matches,” Bailey said.
Setting the singles record won't come easy. Bailey faces Upper St. Clair graduate Amanda Gans of St. Vincent (12-0) on Friday.
“I'm really nervous for Friday,” said Bailey, who beat Gans in three sets last year.
“It would mean a lot to finish the season unbeaten. I can't think about the win streak. Then I'll get too overconfident and lose my focus.”
Jeff Vella is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.