Morgan County’s boys’ and girls’ tennis teams opened up their 2018 campaign this past week with matches against George Walton, Richmond Academy, and Madison County.
Both squads are under the direction of second-year Head Coach Stacy Dearing and assistant coach Jill Cribbs.
The addition of first-year community coach Shane Phitides will also give the coaches and players some additional coaching from a life-long tennis coach at the junior and professional level.
Phitides hails from South Africa and came to the U.S. on a tennis scholarship to Berry College. He became a professional tennis coach after his playing days were over.
He said, “I love coaching kids. The have so much energy and enthusiasm.”
In the first match of the season Morgan faced off with George Walton Academy (GWA) and gave them a run for their money.
The girls fell by a team score of 2-3 with wins coming from the number one doubles team of Caroline Rittenhouse and Abbey Adams 8-4 in a Pro-8 format.
The second win came from Rachel Dickson and Abby Kate Barber at number two doubles 8-4.
Mariella Plumley, who usually plays in the number three singles slot, lost a close match at number two singles 6-8.
She was bumped up due to an illness of number one singles player Avery Kirby.
Others participating in the non-region match were Zoey Brown/Karlie Lane number three doubles, Madison Gasque number one singles, and Sarah Moore at number three singles.
The boys came up with their first win in the road match defeating the Bulldogs of GWA 4-1.
Winners for Morgan were McCormick Anderson and Kaby Brand at number two doubles, and all three of their singles lines. Wyatt Breedlove 8-4 at number one, Owen Anderson 8-4 at number two, and John Cardwell 8-2 at number three gave the guys the opening match win.
Next up were the Richmond Academy Musketeers. The teams traveled to Augusta for this one coming away with a 4-1 win for the boys and another close loss for the girls at 2-3.
Winners for the boys included Owen Anderson and Cardwell in singles and the combinations of Ramon Zamudio/Ben Gill and Brand/James Martin in doubles. The Brand/Martin match was a particularly exciting one with the boys grabbing a 6-4, 7-6 win to clinch the victory.
The girls sent three players to the winners’ circle including Gasque in singles and the duo of Adams/Brown in doubles
The final match came Monday as the Bulldogs/Lady Bulldogs hosted Madison County for their first home match of the season.
Official results were not in by our deadline, but it looked as though the boys took a tough 2-3 loss while the girls were still in the hunt having won two matches with three others still in play.
This one could have gone either way.
Winners for the girls included both the numbers one and two singles, Kirby and Gasque.
Kirby won handily 6-2, 6-1 and had these words about her match, “My opponent played with a lot slower pace on her shots than I usually encounter. She just put it in play. I get my power shots going when I’m facing a player that hits it hard. When you play someone that doesn’t have much pace you just have to be very, very patient.”
Coach Dearing commented, “We had a good first week. The girls lost some close matches, but they played very hard against some good competition. I’m proud of both teams for their effort in practice and in these first three matches.”
Tennis action continues this week with the JV and Varsity playing East Jackson at home Feb. 15 at 4:15 p.m.