Locked and loaded: girls’ tennis looks to dominate again
Nathan Perlmutter, Sports Writer
September 8, 2011
Filed under Tennis
This year’s girls’ tennis team hopes to start and end the season just as they have in the past, state championship titile.
Kevin Lackey is the new Varsity head coach, replacing Jason team’s Theodosiou. Lackey will work with returning Coach AJ Sansom. Although Lackey has not coached a girl’s tennis team before, he has experience in coaching the boys junior varsity team during the spring. Sophomore Cam Newton has high hopes for the season and the team’s new head coach.
“Kevin is a really good coach and he can help us during matches because he knows what to say. He is fun, positive, and makes it more of a team,” Newton said.
Another difference to the team this year is the departure of junior Lindsay Whitehead from the team. Whitehead has played number one singles since her freshman year, but is not playing this year because she is looking toward the future in her competitive sports career. During the tennis season, the Missouri State High School Activities Association regulates the amount a student can play a sport outside of school. One of these limitations includes restricting players to only two tournaments outside of school. Whitehead is looking to bring up her USTA ranking for better eligibility and scouting from colleges. But, even with her loss the team still looks to have a promising season.
“I don’t really think they will be affected very much. As long as the team has a good top six [on varsity] they will do well, way in to the post season,” Whitehead said.
Although the girls’ squad has had success in the past it does not mean they don’t have to work as hard this year. Lackey is looking to focus everyone on the team in improving their doubles skills. His new strategy is due to the fact that during the season the top four only play singles, while in the post season the top four can play both singles and doubles.
Lackey is confident that there will not be a shortage of talented players on this year’s team. Since the season started on August 23, the coaches have determined what will be necessary to reach their goals for the season, including bringing home a state championship trophy.
“I think that we have to be more fit than in the past and have more mental stability. We have the talent and skill we need to do damage during the playoffs,” Lackey said.
A key factor in this team’s success is their mental game and their endurance during the long matches of the post season.
“My biggest concern is making sure we are ready during the days of districts. There are a lot of back-to-back matches which can be both mentally and physically enduring,” Lackey said.
This year’s practice schedule is a little more rigorous than in previous years. However, that means the practices may be difficult.
“Kevin does all of the drills with us and when we have to run he does it too. He is very involved and is trying to help us improve as a team,” Newton said.
Two other varsity players, Molly Burroughs and Kelsey Bearman, also will not be playing this for the team this season.
“Our team will miss them because they were fun and had a lot of talent,” Oglander said. #