The girls high school tennis season gets started well before a lot of the athletes actually get into the classrooms for the year.
The players on the high school teams in Madison County have been playing competitively for a couple weeks and are doing their best playing against tough competition.
Red Raiders coach Jason Clark has enjoyed working with his group of athletes and knows that if they keep the right mindset they’ll do just fine this season.
“I have a wonderful group of fine young ladies coming back and into our tennis program,” Clark said. “I have a good solid group of freshmen and some first-year players that have a lot of athletic ability.”
He is relying on some savvy veterans to lead the way on the court, they include Leigh Dunkley and Megan Cox.
“Leigh is funny because she is naming all the girls she wants to play against and beat,” the coach said. “I asked her how she knows the girls names already and she replied ‘I’m Twitter friends with them.’ Megan is also funny, when (Megan) plays she is a bundle of nerves and she paces quite a bit; but when the first serve happens she is all business.”
The Mid-State League is one of the toughest tennis leagues in the state and the London coach knows that there will surely be tough times this year, but expects his girls to continue to play hard no matter the score.
“This year I spent a lot of time developing player basics,” he said. “This year I have a new toy to help develop players. I was given a tennis ball launcher by the family of Colin Dach. The ball launcher has been key in developing a players skills. I can place the ball exactly where I want it to be and teach the players how to react when they get a hit like that.
“As for being in a tough division in the MSL my girls know that they may have some losses, but as long as they play like I know they can I couldn’t be happier with them. My ladies are a group that is tougher on themselves than I ever could be. If you watch my girls after a loss some of them are replaying the match in their heads and analyzing their performance. I like watching that and seeing a player have that discipline. My ladies know as long as they give 100 percent on the court there is no shame in a loss.”
“My expectations for this season are simple. I expect my girls to go out on the court and have fun. I want them to give their all in every match and walk off the court proud regardless if they win or not. I also expect my girls to keep fighting regardless if they get beat or not.”
The top players on the Pioneers tennis squad this fall are singles players Brenna Holmberg, Chloe Grove and Mikayla Grove. Those playing doubles include combinations of the following players Chelsi Mason, Nicole Cooper, Keli Geers, Miranda Karabinos and Samantha Kaiser.
Chris Miles can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.