After a season opening win over West Hall, the LCHS varsity tennis team has had to battle the weather and some tough opponents to start the 2020 high school tennis season.
The Indians, behind the strong play of senior Laken Ferrell in the number one singles spot, began the season with a decisive 4-0 win over West Hall. The solid victory for Lumpkin allowed the Indians to start their new season off with a bang, despite one of the matches having to be cancelled due to rain.
Rain plagued the beginning of the season, causing rescheduling and cancelled practices and an overall disruption of the team’s routine.
“This has been the worst year that I have experienced in terms of weather,” said LCHS head tennis coach Alan Hogan. “We are forced to miss practices and matches, which keeps us from really building momentum. Naturally other teams have the same problem, but we are not where we should be at this point.”
Given the fact that this year’s Indians squad is awash with new faces, the disruption became apparent when the Indians took to the court for their second match of the season versus Stephens County on Thursday, Feb. 13.
Stephens County made short work of the Indians during the match and ultimately defeated Lumpkin 4-1.
Ferrell picked up the lone win for the Indians in the boys number one singles match, continuing his strong start to the season.
“Our number one boys singles player Laken Ferrell is returning at that position this year,” Hogan said. “He has worked on his game and his fitness and has improved greatly from where he was last year. He has signed to play with Piedmont next year and has dedicated himself to becoming even better. His level of play has risen considerably.”
Ferrell is one of just three returning starters from last year’s Indians, but the team does have some new faces who could make a difference this season.
“The makeup of the team is different from last year,” Hogan said. “Our boys team lost players to graduation. Laken Ferrell, Chris Welch and Caleb James are the only returning starters from last year’s team. We have two move-ins who are in the lineup. Jared Hoch and Ryan Burkhart were starters at their previous schools and are in our lineup this year. Jacob Cumbie, a starter in basketball, struggled with an injury last year but is playing well this year. We have the same expectations, to diligently work and improve.”
The Indians bounced back from their loss to Stephens County with a close 3-2 victory over Riverside Military Academy (RMA) in their next match.
Lumpkin picked up wins from Ferrell in the number one singles match, Cumbie in the number three singles match and the duo of Caleb James and Will Bicknell in the number two doubles match to eke out a close victory against RMA and pick up their second win of the season.
The win improved the Indians’ record to 2-1.
The Indians finished the week with a match versus Forsyth Central on Friday, Feb. 21.
Lumpkin gave a solid effort but proved to be no match for the talents of Forsyth Central’s lineup of tough players.
Forsyth Central took the victory by a final score of 4-1, dropping the Indians’ overall record to 2-2.
James and Chris Welch joined forces in the number two doubles match during the competition and pulled out the Indians’ only victory versus Forsyth Central.
The Lady Indians’ 2020 season got off to a similar start as their male counterparts with the team winning its season opener before dropping two straight for a 1-2 overall record.
“The girls team is made up of girls who were not starters on last year’s team but who have been in our program with Carly Sosebee and Cady Geddings who played in middle school,” Hogan said. “Brooke Waters is the only returning starter and is playing number one singles. With rebuilding, we go through some rough spots, but the experience will keep us on track. As always, our expectations are to focus on the game of tennis and improve every day.”
The Lady Indians got off to a fast start to the season with a powerful performance against West Hall in their season opener. Lumpkin defeated the Lady Spartans 5-0.
With their first win of the season under their belt, the Lady Indians faced the same disruptions in their schedule and their practices from days of rainy weather.
When the Lady Indians did finally get back on to the court to face off with Stephens County, the team struggled to find its rhythm and fell to Stephens County by a final score of 4-1 despite long hard fought matches from Waters and Bella Brock.
The Lady Indians received its lone win from the duo of Sosebee and Emma Pitt in the number two doubles match.
The loss dropped the Lady Indians’ overall record to 1-1.
The team hoped to bounce back when they traveld to Central Park in Cumming to take on Forsyth Central, but Forsyth Central proved to be too much for the Lady Indians to handle and defeated Lumpkin 4-1.
“Forsyth Central is a very strong team,” Hogan said after the match.
Brock picked up the only win for the Lady Indians during the day, earning a victory in the girls number two singles match.
The defeat dropped the Lady Indians; overall record to 1-2.
Despite the rocky start to the to the season, Hogan is optimistic about some of his players’ performances and work ethics coming into and at the start of the season.
“Many of our players have dedicated themselves to our program,” Hogan said. “Bella Brock holds the number two singles spot for us and has had some outstanding performances. Her improvement has been impressive, with lessons at UNG and her fitness routine playing a big part in her development. Many others also take advantage of the instruction at UNG, the chance to play at our tennis facility and our conditioning program at the high school.”
Hogan is especially proud of the work of Waters this season as she transitions from playing doubles last year to the number one singles spot this season.
“Brooke Waters is doing well at number one singles on the girls’ side,” Hogan said. “Moving from her doubles position from last year to the top singles spot is not an easy task, but Brooke also has a strong work ethic and has worked for a year, concentrating on singles and on fitness.”
At press time, the Indians and Lady Indians were set to host Fannin County at the LCHS Tennis Complex on Monday, Feb. 24, before battling it out with North Forsyth on the road at Central Park in Cumming on Tuesday, Feb. 25. No official results were available.
The LCHS varsity tennis teams will take to the court again when they travel to Chestatee to square off with the War Eagles tomorrow, Feb. 27. Matches begin at 4 p.m.