Prep tennis previews
By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on March 10, 2004 1:55 PM
Coach -- Robert Jones, third season
Last year -- 17-6, lost in eastern 1-A regional to Durham School of the Arts
Gone -- James Potts and Jeremy Ford both have gone to School of Science and Math
Back -- Cliff Wilson, Grey Wilson, Will Daniel, Ricky Galloway
Outlook -- The Gators ended up the year strong and hpopes to do it again despite the loss of two starters. "We are not going to be as strong at the bottom of our lineup this year," said Jones. "But hopefully by the end of the season, someone will step up and do the job at five and six." Greene Central is expected to be the dominant 2-A team, but jones is hopeful his team can capture on of the two 1-A playoff spots in the conference. "I see Rosewood being much improved with their returning top players," Jones said.
Coach -- Brad Sauls, fifth season
Last year -- 21-2, 2-A state finalists
Gone -- Exhibition players Will Shingleton and Michael Heath
Back -- All six seeded players, including Andrew Hulbert, Brent Darden and Lin Hall
Outlook -- To put it modestly, the Rams are stacked. Hulbert, Darden and hall are three of the top players in the east and Sauls has all siix seeded players back again from a dominating tam that rolled to the state 2-A champinoship game. Sauls' biggest concern at the moment is how he will team his doubles pairings. "We should easily win the conference," he said. "Our focus will be post-eason play, where we will be seeking our third regional title and our first state title. I think we have a good shot."
Charles B. Aycock
Coach -- Luke Vail, a 17-year veteran of coaching boys tennis
Last year -- 12-8, fourth place in conference, lost to Manteo in opening round of dual-team playoffs
Gone -- Adam Keener graduated, and Justin Davis and Christian Claiborne will not play this season
Back -- Danny Fairchild, David Dodson, Sean Kelly, Robbie Pearsall, Brandon Howard
Outlook -- The Falcons see Vail return to the court after taking last spring away from coaching. Vail likes the team hustle and enthusiasm and said his team is a good mix of experience and youth. "The key to the season is consistency in the three-to-six positions and improved doubles play." The team meeds to work on consistent groundstrokes and volleys. With West Carteret and Washington expected to field strong teams, Vail sees a possible top-three finish in store.
Coach -- Bert Perkins, 13th season
Last season -- 0-16
Gone -- no one
Back -- top two seeds Wesley Lovelady and Matt Mitchell
Outlook -- The lower seeds will be the story for the Eagles, with a lot of first-year players that wil have to mature quickly. Lovelady and Mitchell are third-year players who can compete with the top 1-A players in the area. Perkins sees Greene Central in 2-A and Spring Creek in 1-A as the teams to beat.
Coach -- Nancy Dawson, "a long time"
Last season -- 6-8 in conference
Gone -- Defending state 3-A champion Charlie Drew and three other seeded players are gone
Back -- Alex Bryant, Andrew Smith, Chris Musser, three freshman players with great potential -- James Arceneaux, Ben Ziccardi and John King.
Outlook -- The freshman have got a lot to learn, but they have brought in a lot, according to Dawson. "these are the best beginning players I've had in several years," she said. The conference race will come down to Washington, West Carteret and Aycock. "If my guys work hard, they might get somewhere in the pack," Dawson said.
Schools that did not report -- Southern Wayne, North Lenoir
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