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TENNIS: Eastside boys relishing new beginning with fast start to season
Eastside Sports

COVINGTON, Ga. — The Eastside Eagles boys’ tennis team improved to 4-1 in their most recent matchup against a tough Ola Mustangs group. And given all the fresh faces, starting with the head coach, that’s a feat not to be ignored.

This outstanding start for this young Eagles group that has just one senior may be surprising, but new head coach Nick Adzema has given a huge boost to the squad. That’s according to junior Porter Ryan, who holds down the Eagles’ number one singles spot.

“He’s played tennis, he knows what he’s talking about, he looks at what you’re good at and what you’re not good at and he builds up what you’re not good at,” Ryan said. “I really think he’s helped me improve a lot more this season.”

Ryan had nothing but compliments for the Eagles’ new tennis coach, but Adzema reciprocated those compliments, stating how pleased he is with not only Ryan but also the progression of his young team as a whole.

“His forehand at the baseline is one of his many strengths. He’s just a hard worker and he’s always working to improve on the little parts of his game,” Adzema said. “Every day I always see someone improving and it just makes me love my job even more.”

Following Ryan in the singles group is Will Ebert at the second spot, who Adzema also highlighted as being very good at the baseline, adding that he would love to see him be more aggressive at the net because of his height. 

In the final third spot, Jalen Davis moved from doubles to singles, and Adzema said his aggressive net play has really stood out to him as it helps him finish out points. 

Eastside’s boys team is rounded out with its doubles group, which most recently consists  of Cory Christian and Rivash Deepnarain, and Joey Kirkland and Ejaz Haider Zaidi. 

Adzema sees a ton of potential with each and every player on his squad, but has one main area as the same focal point of improvement for every member of the team. 

“We’ve got to work on our footwork. We can hit these amazing shots, but if we don’t have footwork, we really can’t hit these amazing shots,” said Adzema. “If you don’t have footwork you really can’t have anything else.”

Adzema also mentioned consistency as something that the team focuses on because he says that if you can consistently hit good shots, you improve your chances of earning a win.

Both the boys and girls teams are coming off the momentum from its last match win against Ola Tuesday. In that non-region match against a Class AAAAA school, Ryan, Ebert and Jalen Davis all walked away from their singles matches victorious with 9-8, 8-6 and 8-4 wins respectively. 

And although both doubles groups struggled, a bit, the team has just one loss at the midway point of the season. For that reason, Adzema believes that this team has a ton of potential with high hopes to make a deep run in the playoffs a year after a second round finish in 2018.

“I’m hoping for the state finals but at least the state semifinals,” said Adzema. “I want to at least make it to another round past last year.”