Fall sports preview -- Tennis
By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on August 15, 2004 7:27 AM
Coach: Nancy Dawson, "a veteran coach"
Last season: 6-8 in conference; Jennifer Moats qualified for individual regionals
Gone: Jennifer Moats has graduated; Brittney Smith and Liz Lee opted not to play
Back: Three of the top six seeds are back -- Anna Weeks, Brandi Butts and Trisha Chatman. Other players that have returned include Elizabeth Grady, Samantha Abrahamson, Sarah Carpenter, Ashley Smith, Cindy Clarkson, Venus Lewton, Jennifer Miller, Casie Musgrave, Karry Burnette, Nicole Fine and Lauren Bynum.
Outlook: Dawson is pleased to have enough players --20 -- out to field a JV team. She also has an unusually deep team this season, with players in the top six that have experience and did a lot of summer tournament work.
"There's not as much of a falling off point in the top six now," she said. "There's a lot of good potential." Dawson acknowledged Charles B. Aycock as the team to beat, but noted that West Carteret is a strong team, and Kinston and South Central could have some new players.
Coach: Donald Clark, 17th season
Last season: 27-2
Playoffs: Eastern Regional champions, state 2-A runners-up for sixth straight season
Gone: Melissa Beddard
Back: Meredith Rouse, Sara Moore, Summer Chase, Christi Murphy, Holly Mace, Carolyn Turk, Carly Hart
Outlook: The perennial big dogs of 2-A eastern tennis are back with another power-packed lineup and will once again be favorites for an 11th straight conference title and a seventh straight trip to the state finals. Five starters are back from a dominating team and the singles depth is staggering. Clark lists conditioning as the team's biggest weakness, and he is still testing combinations for doubles teams. He likes the teams at Spring Creek, Rosewood, Tarboro and SouthWest Edgecombe, but still hopes to repeat once again as conference champions.
Coach: Courtney Harrell, first season
Last season: Not reported
Playoffs: Not reported
Gone: Denise Pope
Back: Morgan Worthington, Mary-Linton Smith, Debbie Vandiford, Ruthanne Hardy, Lauren Harris, Rachel Sasser
Outlook: Harrell expects to compete with everyone in the conference, with the exception of Greene Central. Happy with the girls' attitudes and work ethic -- three seniors in the top six, and three juniors, then five freshmen among the others that should be the future of the squad.
Coach: Bert Perkins, 17th season
Last season: 14-7
Playoffs: Reached third round of state 1-A playoffs
Gone: Stacy Ellis, Kerry Garner, Mary Humphrey and Regina Everett all graduated; Erin Gamble will not be playing this season
Back: Kayce Brantham, Leah Smith
Outlook: The Eagles lost a lot to graduation and will field a lot of youth and inexperience, but the returning duo are solid, seasoned players who can be counted on for match points. Perkins thinks that 2-A Greene Central and 1-A Spring Creek will be the class of the league, but his team can make the playoffs and be competitive throughout the conference schedule.
Charles B. Aycock
Coach: Luke Vail, 26th season
Last season: 20-3, conference champions
Playoffs: Reached 3-A dual-team regional quarterfinals
Gone: Summer Pittman graduated and is playing for Barton College; Ashley Edmundson will not be back
Back: Rachel Batts, Leslie Sasser, Carlyn Claiborne, Patricia Owen
Outlook: The Falcons set off in quest of their 25th straight undefeated conference season. The top four seeds are experienced and talented, led by Batts, who went to the state singles championship tournament. Vail is pleased with the team's ground-stroking ability and serving, but is concerned about consistency in volleys and overheads. The Falcons will not play at home until after August while their home courts are resurfaced.
Coach: Anita Phillips, first season
Last season: unknown
Playoffs: Jessica Faison reached the state 3-A individual regionals
Gone: Dominique Cherry, Chandra Davis, April Reid
Back: Faison, Quinonna Bryant, Ja'terricka McClary
Outlook: Goldsboro has another new coach, and returns a good player in Faison, who reached the regional tournament as an individual last season and looks to provide leadership to this largely inexperienced group. Reid and Davis are also back from last season, and experience can't go far enough for the Cougars.
Coach: Robert Jones, fourth season
Last season: 18-4
Playoffs: Eastern 1-A regional champions, lost to Jordan Matthews in first-ever trip to state 1-A dual team championships
Back: Stacy Smith, Sarah Warren, Christie Bradshaw, Sarah Bragg
Outlook: Jones has the luxury of returning every player from a squad that stormed to the state 1-A dual-team title game. The Gators are powerful at the top of the ladder with Smith, Warren, Bradshaw and Bragg providing experience and quality play. Several of the players have worked in summer tournaments to prepare for the upcoming season. Jones sees 2-A power Greene Central and SouthWest Edgecombe as tough competition in the Gators' combination 1-A-2/A league, and county rival Rosewood should again be strong. "If we play up to our potential, we should be in every match we play," said Jones.
Coach: Brad Matthews, sixth season
Last season: 4-12
Gone: Kelly Sasser, Anna Stoppelbein, Dominique Williams, Brandy Jones, Debony Jones all graduated; Lynn Grantham is injured and Kari Sanderson is taking part in another fall sport
Back: Beth Brown
Outlook: The Saints have very little experience back and no seniors on the squad. A lot of learning will be underway in Dudley as Brown is the only player back. Matthews tapped Charles B. Aycock, West Carteret and Washington as the leaders in a strong conference, and hopes to end up "somewhere in the middle."
Teams not reporting -- James Kenan. North Duplin, North Johnston and Princeton do not field tennis teams.
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