When practice began for the 2014 season, Hannah Archer knew she’d have a little competition for the top spot on Lake Norman Charter’s girls’ tennis team.
Not only has little sister Olivia Archer pushed her big sister Hannah to be the Knights’ top player, the duo has also helped Lake Norman Charter get off to an undefeated start through the first month of the season.
“I’m lucky to have Olivia,” said Hannah Archer, 16. “We both benefit by making each other stronger players.”
The Knights are off to an 8-0 start (through Sept. 16) including a decisive 6-3 win over Salisbury – a 10-time state dual-team champion, including the past six 2A state titles. The Knights also have shutout victories in six matches, three against 4A-level schools (and nearby rivals) Hopewell, Hough and North Mecklenburg.
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“They make my job very easy,” said Lake Norman Charter coach Jennifer Gomez, who coached both Archer sisters on the Knights’ middle school team before stepping up to run the high school program this season.
“I do count on them, especially when we’re playing a tougher team. I know that those two are going to pull things out. That’s just the way they are. Even if its a tough match, they’re going to pull things out. Their mentality on the court, they’re going to stay out there and try to win it.”
Both Archer sisters are ranked among North Carolina’s top players in their age groups by national tennis website www.tennisrecruiting.net. Junior Hannah is ranked No. 7 in the state among the Class of 2016 and No. 196 nationally, while Olivia, a freshman, is No. 4 in the state and No. 96 nationally in the Class of 2018 rankings.
“I’ve only challenged (Hannah) once this season,” said Olivia Archer, who also teams with her older sister at No. 1 doubles. “After that, I decided I was just going to focus on my skills and see what happens at the end of the season.”
Hannah Archer is 7-0 at No. 1 singles with Lake Norman Charter this season, while Olivia Archer is 8-0 playing primarily at No. 2 singles.
“They’re interchangeable – I can easily switch them off,” Gomez said.
Olivia has one major win at No. 1 singles: She beat defending NCHSAA 1A state champ Courtney Mudge of Community School of Davidson on Sept. 4 when Hannah had to sit out because of a strained wrist.
“I was a little nervous because she’s an amazing player,” Olivia Archer said of Mudge. “When we got into the match, it was pretty tight. But it was good to have beat her, because it showed me that I had more to develop with my skills.”
The Archer sisters have completely different styles on the tennis court. According to Gomez, Hannah Archer can put points away quickly with her power strokes, while Olivia Archer is more of a strategist.
“We get variety from each other,” said Hannah Archer, who won the NCHSAA 1A state singles title as a freshman. “But also, siblings are just competitive. We push each other, and make each other better.
“I’m really excited to have (Olivia) on the team. I love playing next to her and cheering each other on, and I love playing doubles with her. It’s made the team a lot more fun for me. Even though we are competitive, we do want the best for each other.”