Too busy for girls team, Multani and Reynolds still shine for Knights

Michael Leonard
Kent Weeklies
Nordonia Knights

Ever since their sophomore year, Nordonia seniors Lauleen Multani and Jordan Reynolds were just too busy in the fall to play for the Knights girls tennis team.

So what did they do?

They joined the boys tennis team in the spring.

There were times when Reynolds was a sophomore in which she got a little too intense out on the court.

“We had to have a few talks because, when Jordan’s doubles partner would make a mistake, she showed her frustration it a little bit too much, and the teammate knew that she was a threat,” Nordonia head coach Ryan Vehar said. “It’s not always fun to have a partner who you feel like is down on you. Jordan didn’t necessarily mean to do it because half the time she was already upset about how her own game was going that day.

“As a coach, I tried to get Jordan to see the big picture. I asked her if she felt like a teammate next to her was all upset every time she messed up, and the teammate would get madder at her, would that make her play better or play worse? She definitely felt it wouldn’t help her play better.

"So I said to her, ‘Imagine how other kids feel because sometimes you’re so intense out on the court that you’re scaring them, and they’re not playing as well as they can play because they don’t want to mess up and get you madder.’

“I think, over the last couple of years, Jordan has gone through a lot of transition and growing up. As her tennis game has gotten better, her understanding of sports and teammates and how you can get more out of your partner have gotten better, too. This past season, she was a great teammate, along with Lauleen.

“Both Jordan and Lauleen were happy to play wherever I needed them whether it was a varsity match or a junior varsity match. Both girls were always positive this past season. Being a little older, they both have their drivers licenses and, after practice was over, they showed up over at Kent Roosevelt in one of our varsity-only away matches just to support the team. I thought that was really neat. Lauleen came to the conference tournament, too, to cheer on and support her teammates. She was a good, positive influence on the younger kids as well as the seniors.”

As for Reynolds’ performance on the court at the varsity level, she was somewhat of a riverboat gambler.

“Jordan had a little bit more errors, but she also took more chances and hit with a little more pace,” said Vehar. “She’s pretty solid at the net and is a decent, stronger baseline hitter.”

Reynolds, who plans on attending Spelman College in Atlanta on an academic scholarship, won one of six matches at second doubles with various partners this past season. She teamed with freshman Ranbeer Bajwa to defeat a team from Stow-Munroe Falls 8-3 in a pro set in the back draw of the Suburban League Tournament National Conference at Medina Highland.

As for Multani, who plans on attending Kent State University, she won one of two matches at third singles, defeating an opponent from Willoughby South 7-5, 6-3.

“Lauleen is just a solid player. She keeps the ball in play, is a finesse player. She’s not a strong, hard hitter, but she’s consistent,” Vehar said. “If there’s a ball to be gotten back that’s still in play, she’ll get to that ball and get it back.

“Even though she wasn’t one of our top players, Lauleen was always there practice-wise ready to play, was always prepared. She’d be in some of our discussions with some of the other seniors talking about how we thought the year was going to be going and how she could most contribute to the team. She understood where her tennis game was compared to some of the other guys and girls on the team.”

Knights senior Spencer Will won two matches and lost on May 10 at the Division I sectional tournament at Solon.

He defeated a player from Eastlake North 6-1, 6-0 in the first round. He beat a player from Cleveland Heights 6-3, 6-2 in the second round. Under the lights in the third round, he was knocked out of the tournament by a player from Willoughby South in straight sets.