Indian River tennis racking up conference wins early
Both the boys’ and girls’ Indian River High School tennis teams started off the season with multiple conference wins last week, with the girls starting 3-0 with wins against Seaford, Milford and Lake Forest and the boys starting off 2-1 against the same teams — their only loss against Milford, 3-2 — last Friday, March 28.
After a rainy pre-season eliminated many of the team’s planned outdoor practices, the girls got one of their first opportunities to play together when they faced Seaford last Thursday, March 27.
“This was one of the first times they’ve played together, because of the weather,” said head coach Stefanie Riddle after that match. “I think they did really well. I think they mentally were prepared.”
Kelsey Waite — who is now serving as head coach of the boys’ team while continuing to assist with the girls’ team — had similar thoughts on finally being about to get back out on the courts.
“It’s been crazy, so they really haven’t had much of an opportunity together,” said Waite after the team’s first match last week. “We’ve done conditioning in the gym, but that doesn’t help with your racquet skills.
“I think everybody was super excited — sun’s out, no rain, and one of our goals for the season was to be undefeated, and this was a good way to start out.”
Junior Seung Son, senior Alyssa McManus and senior Leanne Murray all won handily in their singles matches, as did first-doubles players Ashlyn Calhoun and Emily Engh, and second-doubles players Zoe Richard and Danielle Rybicki.
“I think Alyssa played a tough opponent at No. 2,” Riddle noted after the Seaford match. “She played a person that could get the ball back every time, so she had to adjust her playing style to win.”
“This was a day where we could [continue working] on some things that we’ve worked on in practice,” Waite added. “Same thing with [Milford]. We get to practice some things, try some new things — especially with the doubles teams.”
While the girls have yet to really be challenged — winning all three of their matches 5-0 to start the season — the boys’ team knocked off Seaford and Lake Forest just as easily but struggled against Milford on the road.
The team saw victories by seniors Josh Kleinstuber and Samuel Izzo at second- and third-singles but lost both double sets and their first-singles set, with Milford’s Colton Williamson handing senior Rydge Murray his first loss of the season.
The Indians have already bounced back from that loss with the win against Lake but will look to continue to add to the win column this Friday at home against Polytech at 4 p.m.
They’ll hit the road against Sussex Central on Monday, April 7, with the girls at home on the same day. Both matches that day will also begin at 4 p.m.