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The focus strays from winning but moves more in the direction of growing the sport and developing a love for the game for the Community Christian School girls tennis team.
Thus, long faces and deflated spirits didn’t exist after the Lady Cyclones were dealt a 9-0 1-A/2-A Carolina Independents Conference loss by visiting Rocky Mount Academy on the Lake Wilson Tennis Club courts on a hot Monday afternoon.
CCS claimed just three games in dropping to 0-7 against all foes and to 0-6 in the league. Rocky Mount departed 4-1 in the CIC and 5-4 overall.
Rocky Mount Academy won the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association 2-A championship last season.
“We lost four seniors off that team,” noted coach Gayle High, “and we’re not quite as good this year. But we are still pretty strong; we have real potential. We are still figuring out who plays well with who.”
In pro-set competition, junior Olivia Walker, at No. 1 singles, managed a game.
In doubles, the No. 3 tandem of junior Kelsey Strange-senior Kayla Farmer won the opening game and prevailed in a deuce game to extend the match.
RMA got 8-0 outcomes from freshman Elle Bartolomeo at No. 2, sophomore Ari Henderson at No. 3, freshman Riley Bowles at No. 4, sophomore Bea Barnhill at No.5,senior Eliza Myers at No. 6, senior Ada Everette-sophomore Lindsay Boyette at No. 1 doubles and Honey-Henderson at No. 2. Everette, normally situated at No. 1 singles, played only doubles.
Strange leads the Lady Cyclones with five victories — three in doubles.
“I love playing tennis,” commented Strange, also a soccer player. “It’s now my favorite sport. I have only been playing four months and I love it.
“We don’t ever focus on winning and losing. We just have so much fun out there. We’ve grown a lot since (Dylan Costello) became our coach. He has taught us so much.”
Costello is in his first season in just the second year girls tennis has returned to CCS. He’s also the Lake Wilson head tennis professional.
“It’s challenging,” Costello admitted of his role, “but I like seeing the girls enjoy it. This year, we have girls winning games and matches on individual courts. But I want them to play outside high school tennis. I want them to love the sport.”
RMA’s High credited the Lady Cyclones for “coming a long way” and reminded: “It takes time to establish a program.”
Added Strange: “We’re getting there. We’ve definitely grown.”
ROCKY MOUNT ACADEMY 9, COMMUNITY CHRISTIAN 0
Shelton Honey (RMA) def. Olivia Walker 8-1; Elle Bartolomeo (RMA) def. Kaylee Liles 8-0; Ari Henderson (RMA) def. Hadley Borg 8-0; Riley Bowles (RMA) def. Lexi Gardner 8-0; Bea Barnhill (RMA) def. Kelsey Strange 8-0; Eliza Myers (RMA) def. Kayla Farmer 8-0.
Ada Everette-Lindsay Boyette (RMA) def. Walker-Gardner 8-0; Honey-Henderson (RMA) def. Liles-Borg 8-0; Bartolomeo-Bowles (RMA) def. Strange-Farmer 8-2.