With just one player graduated from last year’s Mountain Valley Athletic Conference runner-up team, the Elkin women’s tennis team will expect to compete for the conference championship this season.
“We’ve got a strong top six,” Elkin Coach Melissa Smith said. “Actually, we’ve got a strong top nine or 10.”
Most the current players came in as freshmen when Smith took over as head coach. “This junior class — the bulk of them — and I have been figuring this out together.”
This season five juniors and one senior will comprise the top six spots for the Buckin’ Elks. Four sophomores are in line right now behind those six.
“One of our goals is to — as a team — win the conference,” Smith said. “We’d certainly like to get into the dual team playoffs. And the girls have set personal goals for themselves.”
Although still young, the Buckin’ Elks are not as young as last season. Most of them gained a lot of varsity experience a year ago.
“There is that experience,” Smith said. “We get along, too. They seem to get along well with another and support one another.”
While Smith would like to see her team win a conference championship, she’s know the road through the MVAC is a tough one.
“I’m hoping we can put in a good show each time,” Smith said. “The biggest thing is figuring out our doubles strategy.”
Smith will be assisted by Pam Fencl. “Pam is great,” Smith said. “she really knows the doubles game. She’s a great asset.”
Smith said the team had a clinic held earlier in the summer taught by Nanette Huff, a nationally ranked player and a coach at Elkin Middle School.
“It was great,” Smith said. “We worked a lot on technique.”
Elkin opens their season Tuesday at home against Wilkes Central. The singles matches are scheduled to start at 4:30.
“We’re excited to get started,” Smith said. ” I hope we stay healthy.”
Jim Fuller may be reached at 336-258-4052 or Twitter @elkinareasports.