Serve’s up: Western Tidewater teams take to the courts
Published 10:55 am Friday, April 4, 2014
WINDSOR—Many local teams have begun their seasons, and some will start in the upcoming week.
In Windsor, the boys team has played two matches and is currently 1-1; while the girls team has begun the season 1-2.
The Franklin boys got started on Wednesday, and lost their first match of the season. The Lady Broncos are 1-1 on the season.
The Southampton Lady Indians are 4-1 on the season. The boys team will start play next week.
Southampton Academy, which lost its first match of the season, is sporting a girls team with a new coach. Tidewater Academy also has a girls team, and right now is 0-2.
Isle of Wight Academy doesn’t have a tennis team.
Windsor Boys Head Coach Tom Michael said he had high expectations for this season, since he is returning all but one player from last year’s state tournament team.
“Last year the Windsor Boys Tennis Team was the Tri-Rivers District and the Region A Team Champion, and participated in the VHSL State Tennis Tournament,” he said. “Except for Cody Reese, who is in college, all the players from last year’s squad are returning for this season.”
Key players will be Kyle Hollowell, who is playing his third season as the No. 1 seed, Daniel Klausmeier, Ethan Bales, Derrick Klausmeier, Stephen Hurst and Alex Kiser.
The Girls team is sporting a new coach, Stacy Griffith, who said she just wanted some sunny days.
“If we can have some good weather to actually practice consistently, we will have a strong team,” she said. “Even with the bad weather we won our first match of the season.”
Jessica Blythe, a senior, will play as the No. 1 seed, and Waverli Taylor, a sophomore, is the No. 2 seed.
“We played ARGS on Monday, which is our toughest team, and lost; however, if we play as well the rest of the season as we did for that match we should be very productive,” she said. “We are very excited about this year, new coach, new teams, finally some nice weather, so let the season begin.”
Boys Head Coach Frank Davis said his struggle is going to be fielding a team on a given gameday, since he is sharing so many players with the other sports. In the first match of the season on Wednesday, several matches were forfeited because other students were playing soccer or were at the track meet.
The key for the future, Davis said, was to find some athletes who were really into tennis, but for now he’s working on teaching tennis fundamentals to those in the program. He is fielding a new team, and he said some of them had never played tennis before.
“I should have a complete team for majority of our matches,” he said. “A lot of kids are picking skills up real well. We’ve been pleased.
“A lot of them are eager to play and are excited about the season.”
The Girls team is headed by Calvin Sing. With the realignment, he thinks his team has a good shot at finishing in the top half of the league.
“The schools we normally warm up with are in our district now,” Sing said. “I expect them to be competitive in district by the end of the season, and possibly take a run in the conference tournament.”
Key players will be two seniors, Maura Zurluh and Rebecca Gray, who are doubles partners.
“I hope for them to be competitive in doubles and make a run in the tournament,” he said.
“This year marks the graduation of four girls who started with me in the eighth grade, so that’s sad,” Sing added. “But I’m excited about this season. Of course, I’m excited about every season, but this one more so.”
Sing said last year they were 5-10, but he hopes to have them break .500 this year.
Boys Head Coach Larry Rose said he was looking for an improvement on last year’s .500 season, as he is returning his top four seeds.
“My expectations are pretty high,” he said. “They are experienced, many of them have been here for four years. We have a tough district, but I expect some success.”
His roster starts with Sam McDonald, the No. 1 seed, followed by Ellis Cofield, Cedric Everett, Antonio Cofield, Donald Blythe, Cam McHenry Shane Bullock and Russell Ballance.
Willie Schools is the first-year coach for the Lady Indians.
“The girls seem excited and they seem to be having a great time playing tennis,” Schools said. “I feel very lucky to have fallen in with a great group of ladies, and I get to share my love of the game with them.”
The No. 1 seed is Melia Hill, a senior, and Schools said to expect strong seasons from Eve Robertson, junior, Marena Vick and Madeline Niles, both freshmen.
“Melia is a consistent player,” Schools said. “She does not make many errors. With the help of her fellow seniors, she helps keep the coach in check. Seriously!
“Eve is a strong player. She is a natural athlete. She is also the cheerleader of the group, and she motivates her teammates to to their best.
“Marena and Madeline are true tennis players, and what I mean by that is that they just did not pick up a racket when tryouts began. They play all year long.”
Schools said she felt confident that Southampton would be able to hang in there with the other schools in the district.
SOUTHAMPTON AND TIDEWATER ACADEMY
Jennifer Whitley, the first-year coach at Southampton Academy, said the Lady Raiders have a lot of enthusiasm for the year ahead.
“They are ready to learn the sport,” she said. “They can handle being told what to do, put out tons of effort, and because of that they have improved their game, in all aspects. I just like their open mindedness to try new things and to change bad habits.”
Her top player is Olivia Fox, a senior.
“She is a strong player,” Whitley said. “I just hope to build her confidence up during matches more. But she has a great serve, and she smiles on every ground stroke. She’s truly a pleasure to watch.”
Tidewater Academy Head Coach Susan Scarborough said the girls are looking improved, despite losing time to snow and bad weather.
“They are looking really good,” she said. “There’s only one new member on the team this year, and she’s picking it up quickly.”
She said of the matches they have lost, they have been close, so it’s something that could be turned around.
Her 1 to 5 seeds are all returnees, and two of them have played for five years.
“We’ve got a pretty experienced group,” she said. “I feel like we will be strong.”