Published: Sep 25, 2006 01:35 PM
Modified: Sep 25, 2006 01:35 PM
Goals keep Falcons focused
Green Hope enjoying one of best tennis seasons
Since the start of the season, Green Hope High tennis coach Andrew Tuttle has stressed several key points to his players.“He’s always told us to be aggressive and never to give up,” junior Katherine Armistead said.Added junior Taylor Gibson: “He tells us to be more consistent and to keep going.”Tuttle’s points were further emphasized as he set team goals of winning the Tri-Eight Conference and making it to the NCHSAA 4-A Playoffs. So far, the Falcons appear to have taken his advice to heart.Green Hope defeated Cary High 8-1 on Thursday and then Apex High 6-3 on Friday to extend the Falcons’ record to 8-3 overall and 7-2 in the Tri-Eight. In the singles matches, Armistead, who plays at No. 3, and sophomore Lindsay Cline at No. 5 did not allow any loose points by them as they defeated their Cary opponents, Emily Brune and Roxanne Diaz, respectively, 6-0, 6-0.“I’ve noticed a big improvement in myself and our team this year,” Armistead said. “Last year, I wasn’t even in the top six and as a team we’re doing really well in the conference.”As the singles matches filtered off the courts, one group kept at it. As one of only three returning players to the Cary team, No. 1 Ashley Rogers made her skill known. In a hard-fought match, she earned the only point for the Imps, defeating Calle Kucharski 6-2, 6-3. Minutes after, the two players regrouped for doubles, where Kucharski and Gibson avenged the loss with an 8-5 win over Rogers and Cameron Saunders.The Falcons have won their last five matches, including a victory over rival Middle Creek High on Sept. 12. The last time the team beat Middle Creek was before most of Green Hope’s current players had ever arrived at the school.“The Middle Creek win was a big deal for us,” Tuttle said. “The first match with them, we knew we were about equal with them in talent and we were disappointed when we lost over on their court. When we got them over on our courts, we won and that’s really fired everyone up.”Middle Creek and Green Hope are currently tied for second place in the conference behind Athens Drive High. The top two seeds from the Tri-Eight earn bids to the playoffs, meaning even if the two teams had to play a tie-breaker match, the losing team could still earn a wildcard bid. For Green Hope, that means part of Tuttle’s goal would be met. As for the other part of Tuttle’s team goal, he’s noticed a vast improvement in his players since last year — mentally and physically.Green Hope has five freshmen on this year’s team, as well as an experienced set of upperclassman. With so much depth, Tuttle has been able to rotate his players regularly. As a result, the team is reliant on just a couple players at the top and each gets the game experience needed for continued improvement.Last year, Green Hope finished fourth in the conference with a 9-6 overall record. Less than two weeks remain in the Falcons’ regular season, and they end it with an away match at Athens Drive on Oct. 5. Although the players believe their final match could be tough, they’re focused on the long-term goals.“I just keep telling them to work hard, no matter who they’re playing,” Tuttle said. “And they are hard-working, and it shows in the matches.”
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