The Smith-Cotton tennis team is getting used to a new coach. Former Lady Tigers player Christine Ross takes over this season and the current Lady Tigers are adjusting to the new coach.
Ross was hired as the new S-C coach in June and jumped right in, hosting a camp in July. The first week of fall sports practices saw the Lady Tigers get started on the new season, despite rain cooping them up indoors Wednesday.
“The girls are getting a lot of hits on the balls, which is kind of what we need early on is to hit as many balls as we can and get as much practice in as we can,” Ross said.
The Lady Tigers return four players from 2014 — Elizabeth Matz, Nicole Reedy, Alison Burton and Kali Heavener. Matz and Burton both saw time at No. 1 singles last year and Reedy played some No. 3 singles. Heavener, a junior, opened 2014 at No. 6 singles. Heavener said she is already seeing improvement in her game from her new coach.
“She’s improving my form and my backhand volleys,” Heavener said. “She’s positioning my hands so that I will do it the right way.”
Joining the veterans are several new players. Ross said the key to getting them up to speed will be “learning the basic fundamentals of tennis and just knowing the game, knowing when to hit certain shots during the match that are going to be productive for them.”
“I feel like we’re going to be pretty well-rounded,” Heavener said. “The girls have really good forehands or really good volleys but I think as a whole, we will all come together and do really well.”
S-C will determine who plays in what spot late next week or the following week in their challenge matches. The Lady Tigers open the season Aug. 24 against the School of the Osage at the Liberty Park Courts.
Eric Ingles can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @Eric_Ingles