Published: Jul 12, 2006 11:30 AM
Modified: Jul 12, 2006 11:29 AM
Green Hope High's tennis team has not experienced the bitter feeling of losing in the Tri-Seven Conference for quite some time. And this year is no different.
The most successful team in school history has won four straight Tri-Seven titles and is in pursuit of a fifth this season. From 2002 through 2005, the Falcons did not lose a single conference match.
Heading into this week, the Falcons were 14-3 overall (9-0 in the Tri-Seven) and had won 57 straight Tri-Seven matches.
This year's team bears a strong resemblance to the teams of the past -- a mixture of talent and experience. There is only one sophomore on the roster, and coach Andrew Tuttle likes it that way.
"When we get in close matches, I feel confident that our juniors and seniors will pull out the wins because they've been in those positions before and know how to succeed, he said.
Succeeded, they have. The Falcons have only lost four doubles matches all year. A key to that success is having much better teamwork due to the experience that is on the roster.
Longtime Falcons standout Andrew Waldrop, who had played No. 1 singles since he was an underclassman, is now playing at Mars Hill University. His successor, Alex Wetherell, has not let Green Hope skip a beat.
With a 100-mile-per-hour serve, Wetherell is among the players to beat in the conference.
"Alex Wetherell plays singles and doubles for us and has played in every match for the past two years, Tuttle said. "He plays hard in practice every day and sets an example for his teammates with his work ethic and dedication.
Wetherell is not the only veteran who sets an example for the Falcons. Evan Tsun also helps the team stay at its high level.
Since the season's first serve, the Falcons have felt the pressure to win -- not only at the conference level, but at the state level as well.
"We try not to talk about the streak because we don't want to put any additional pressure on ourselves, but I think it is in the back of our minds sometimes, Tuttle said. "When you play on a team that has the history of success that we do, you want to contribute to that success and keep it going and don't want to be known as the team that ended the streak.
The team has no intention of succumbing to that pressure, Tuttle said.
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