Sibling rivalry has translated into success for the Murphy sisters.
The Eaton sister act is having a major impact as Sophia, Grace and Tess Murphy compete at first, second and third singles, respectively, on the Eagles tennis team this season. Coach John Hitchcock is thrilled that tennis is a family affair for the Murphy girls.
“They are definitely assets to the team,” Hitchcock said. “Very strong players, every one of them.”
Sophia and her twin sister Tess played first and second singles as freshmen last season, compiling 18-9 and 16-8 individual records. Sophia made history as the first Eaton girls’ tennis player to qualify to the district tournament. The addition of Grace, a freshman this season, meant a possible shakeup to the singles lineup.
“We weren’t sure how the challenge matches would go, but they have good parents who keep them grounded,” Hitchcock said.
Grace, 14, edged out Tess, 15, for the second singles spot in a pre-season challenge match while Sophia, 15, held on to first singles.
“It was a good match, we both played well but it was a little difficult when she beat me,” Tess said. “We’re all pretty close, as far as skill level, and I’m really glad we get to play together.”
Sophomores Sophia and Tess started playing tennis in the fourth grade; Grace was a third grader. All three were quickly hooked on the game and don’t mind the countless lengthy drives – close to an hour each way – to Five Seasons for lessons.
The trio agrees that Grace is the most competitive, but winning is a priority for all three of them. And winning has been the rule, not the exception, as Sophia started the season 11-3 while Grace and Tess tallied identical 12-2 records to open the season. Having hitting partners under the same roof has been beneficial for the siblings.
“It definitely helps me that we play against each other,” Grace said. “We can help each other with our game.”
But the sisters are more than friendly rivals on the court, they are also each other’s biggest fans.
“If one of us finishes a match before the others, we always go to watch and cheer for them,” Tess said. “We know how to boost each other up.”
Sophia is determined to make a repeat trip to the district tennis tournament, but not alone.
“I want to go as far as I can at the district with my sisters by my side,” she said.
The Eaton tennis team will next be in action at the Miami Valley Tennis Coaches Association Coaches’ Cup Saturday. The Eagles will compete at the Centerville site.