Local tennis teams are still in the early half of Region 7-AA play, and many questions to the season remain unanswered.
But if the last few weeks are any sign, then the Model’s players are proving to be contenders.
The Model girls and boys picked up region wins against Coosa on Wednesday at the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College, with the Lady Devils winning 3-2 and the boys sweeping the Eagles, 5-0. The victories keep both squads near or at the top of the 7-AA standings.
“We’ve got kids who not only want to play tennis, but play all the time,” Model boys’ coach Josh Goss said. “They play on weekends, they go to tournaments, and they only improve with that. They just really enjoy playing this game.”
Model and Coosa’s girls feature an abundance of talented players.
Coosa’s No. 1 singles player Tori Overby stayed undefeated on the season Wednesday with a 6-2, 6-1 win, while Model’s No. 2 player Bailey Upton won 6-2, 6-0, and No. 3 player Meredith Leonard won 6-1, 6-1.
Model’s victory was decided in the first doubles match as the Lady Devils team of Natalie Davis and Reagan Dooley beat Keegan Justice and Rajohnae Hames in three sets, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. Coosa’s second doubles team of Sadie Hagen and Alexis Holmes won its match 6-1, 6-4.
Model (5-2, 5-1 7-AA) has yet to play a region opponent a second time, so girls coach Paige Reece has looked more at how her team is doing. More than anything, she is hoping her squad can gain a positive experience out of every match.
“Right now we are still looking at ourselves and just looking at matchups, and seeing where we can improve,” Reece said. “We are just looking at where we are and just how we match with other region teams.”
The Lady Eagles (5-1, 5-1) and Eagles (4-2, 4-2) have replaced 10 seniors combined from last season, and coach Marie Lewis admitted players are still getting used to their new roles. But she trusts the team will only get better as they near the region tournament.
The Model boys (7-0, 6-0) went quickly, starting with Model’s No. 1 singles player Kyle Hale winning his match 6-3, 6-4. Fellow singles players Parker Stone and David Mountain each won their matches 6-0, 6-0. The Model doubles team of John Weaver and Stephen Boylan also won 6-0, 6-0, while the team of Sam Bryant and Barton Sopta won 6-2, 6-3.
While all of the coaches were pleased with the lack of rain, the cold temperatures and wind certainly changed the way some of the players played. Goss was pleased to see his players adjust and stay confident in the matches they played.
Model plays at Chattooga today, while Coosa travels to Dade County. And as the grind of region play continues, the most important thing remains individual improvement.
“I tell my players every day, ‘You have to get better, you have to find something to get better at,’” Goss said. “We don’t need to worry about wins or losses right now, it is just about improvement.”