COVINGTON, Ga. — With the high school tennis season nearing its conclusion, both Eastside Eagles tennis teams are looking to extend theirs into a lengthy postseason run, starting with prepping for regionals at Woodward Academy, April 10-11.
Consistent improvement has been the standard set for both squads through the regular season, as they both have already qualified for the state playoffs.
However, each coach will tell you that the teams have surprised them in respective ways.
“This team has exceeded my expectations,” said boys head coach Vance Owens. “The boys finished 9-4 overall and have shown steady improvement throughout the season.”
He also noted that court awareness and communication between doubles partners are points of emphasis when it comes to improving the overall success of the team, but one way he’s getting his bunch ready for the playoffs is by getting them accustomed to the conditions of it.
“We scheduled four matches in one week to help prepare the team for the grind of the playoffs,” he said. “Conditioning can be an issue during it.”
This method is also used by girl’s head coach Angie Honey, who noted that scheduling non-region match ups with Alcovy, Walnut Grove and Social Circle is key in getting her team ready in all ways to make a deep run.
“I just want them to practice and get enough play time in,” she said.
It is a simple game plan, but it is one she’s used with great results thus far in the season, and she knows that her players are more than ready for the postseason task at hand.
Leaders like sophomore phenom Abbey Grace Venham and Maddie Lunt along with standout freshman Meredith McCrorey look to lead the charge for the girls to make it deep into the postseason.
On the boy’s side, younger standouts like Will Elbert, Jalen Davis and Porter Ryan are making strides to ensure that the program’s success isn’t just for now, but also the future.
The three leaders, however, include Carter Malcom, Connor Cantrell and Isaac Ugan. Ugan is undefeated, and all three athletes look to rally their team for a darkhorse run at a state title.
Owens stated that the aforementioned group leads by example in both their play and in attitude which bodes well for a team that wants to keep playing deep into April.
Reflecting on the season, Ugan noted that giving up zero games in the region matches was the greatest achievement of the year.
But Ugan says those regular season accomplishments are behind them now as he and his teammates focus on the postseason tasks at hand.
“We’re practicing while being motivated to do the best we can,” he said. “We also face tough opponents outside of our region in order to get the best play possible in hopes that we can make great achievements in the playoffs.”