East tennis excited
By Ryan Bisesi
GRANITE QUARRY ó
There havenít been many dreary days with East Rowan girls tennis this year.
However, Tuesdayís weather was less then stellar so the Mustangs were confined to a classroom.
Maybe the rest of the NPC should take note as they havenít had a clue how to restrain an unbeaten East Rowan team.
From their desk chairs with tennis balls at the bottom of the legs, the Mustangs sit at 14-0 and outright conference champions for the second straight year and have been in their element all season.
Weather-pending, youíll almost always see them with a racket.
ěYou canít get them off the court,î said East coach Sunni Hill of her team. ěThey just want to play and win. Itís been a great year.î
East rolled through conference play and ended the regular season with a surprising 5-3 win against highly-ranked Gray Stone at home. Eastís tennis courtsí donít have lights, so the match ended early, but the message was clear that the Mustangs were for real.
ěWe knew it was going to be our toughest match and we went in there and beat them,î Hill said. ěTheyíre ranked eighth in the state and we beat ëem.î
Thereís a week until the playoffs begin and rain postponed the NPC Tournament until Thursday at West Rowan.
Last year, East defeated Mt. Pleasant in the first round of the state playoffs before falling to Concord. In 2009, they shared first place in the NPC with Statesville.
The Mustangs returned all but one player from last year.
ěThis is just an exceptional group of girls,î Hill said. ěThey have a lot of desire and want it more than anything.î
Hill, a 2001 graduate of Northern Michigan University, played tennis at Luther L. Wright High in Ironwood, MI. She has family in Yadkinville and found a teaching job at East after graduation. Principal Kelly Sparger approached her about taking the job before the year and she was responsive.
ěAbout a second,î was how long it took for Hill to accept the coaching position.
Hill says this season has surpassed her expectations, but her players knew the conference-championship potential that this season carried.
ěIt was a goal,î No. 4 singles player Kayela Wilson said. ěWe knew we could do it if we worked hard for it.î Wilson is 13-1 and part of an undefeated doubles team with Rebecca Agner. Her only defeat in singles play came against Gray Stone.
No. 1 singles player Lizzie Weaver is ranked 73rd in the state in the USTA rankings. Weaver was the No. 6 player last year, but worked up to the teamís top position.
Weaver was a gymnast until age 11, when she dove into tennis. Now, sheís a rare sophomore No. 1.
ěMy goal for this year was to practice my absolute hardest,î Weaver said.
Weaver admits she still has elements of her game that need improvement, but as a sophomore, thereís time for that.
ěOut of everything, my return needs the most work,î Weaver said.
Megan Bullins (12-2) is the teamís No. 2 singles player and has played since seventh grade. She dropped the first match against Carson before winning the next 12.
ěBuilding myself back up after losing the first match was great,î Bullins said.
Hannah Pressley (No. 5) and Lauren Thomas (No. 6) round out the squad and play doubles together. Weaver and Bullins are the other doubles team.
ěI canít wait to see how we do in the playoffs,î Hill said. ěThey want it. They want it badly.î