BY GREG FLINT
VEEDERSBURG, Ind. —
High school tennis has taken a hit this spring from the weather. Local schools have had to delay practices and reschedule matches due to cold and snow.
When Fountain Central and Covington squared off on the Mustangs’ courts, it was the first match of the season for the hosts and only the second for the Trojans.
“In all my years of coaching tennis, I’ve never had snow around the courts for practice,” said long-time Covington coach Terry Field. “But that’s spring.”
Combine the weather with young teams on both sides of the net and the coaches, while always concerned about winning a conference match, were more interested in seeing improvement.
“I’ll know more after tonight and tomorrow,” said Fountain Central head coach David Kight. “But I’ve already seen improvement this year.”
The match ended 3-2 in favor of Covington with the Trojans winning all three singles and the Mustangs taking the two doubles.
The Mustangs have only two current players with varsity experience with a third who is out injured. He has three freshmen and a first-year senior as four of his seven started.
“We’re inexperienced all over,” said Kight. “Nobody is comfortable out there yet, but they are very coachable and are listening to what Coach [Chris] Webb and I are telling them.”
Kight says he has no set lineup in mind because when his injured player returns, “things might be all changed up.”
He noted that five of his seven eventual starters would return next year, so he is not only working on finding success this year, but looking forward to next year as well.
“You try to put players out there where they will learn,” he explained, “but also where they can prepare for the future.”
Covington played Attica to open the season and already Field says he sees significant improvement in his squad.
“We’ve got a lot of kids who haven’t played much tennis,” he said, “so they get better every time they’re out there.”
His current lineup has three freshmen, a sophomore, a junior and two seniors but that could change as he sees who plays well with whom and who improves the most.
Field has 13 girls on his team, so depth will not be a problem and he says some may move up or down as the season develops, but that all of them have good attitudes and are looking to improve.
“I’m really enjoying this year, watching them improve,” he said, “ and I’m looking forward seeing them get better as they play more – that’s what they need right now – more play.”
Kight said his team has only one goal this year.
“This isn’t like last year when we had all the seniors and had goals of winning the conference, winning sectional and try to win a match at regional.”
He continued, “Our only goal is to do the things we need to do today to be better tomorrow. That’s the one goal Coach Webb and I have for our teams every year.”
Greg Flint is a freelance writer/photographer for the Commercial-News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org