The Union County girls tennis team is looking for young talent to step up in the 2012 season after losing three of its top five singles players to graduation and one returning standout, Adelaide Adamo, to a season ending knee injury.
The Jackets return four starters from last season including the team’s only senior, Abby Allen.
Coach Kelly Jenkins expects Allen to be a leader for Union County and contend for the top player in Region III-AAA.
“Abby could have a huge season for us at number one singles and doubles,” said Jenkins. “She is a six year starter with a wealth of experience against quality competition. She will definitely be one to watch this season.”
Freshman Dexlie Inman played #5 singles for the Jackets in 2011. She advances to the #2 singles spot in 2012 and will also join Allen on the #1 doubles team. Jenkins is confident that Inman will fill the role with ease and be a factor for the Jackets.
Abby Kingsmore is a freshman who’s been thrust into a top singles spot, but Jenkins expects her to continue to improve and be a major part of Union County’s success along with top newcomer Rebecca Lee. Lee is a seventh grader who just recently picked up the game, but already shows great promise.
“Abby has shown in our preseason that she wants to win and is quickly learning how to do it,” said Jenkins. “I look for her to be a huge part of our success.”
The Jackets feature several other young players who have the ability to step in at either singles or doubles and are looking to utilize their talents to make a run for a fourth consecutive region championship.
“We are inexperienced in some spots, but we will continue to improve and there is no reason that we can’t take the title with a lot of hard work,” said Jenkins.
The Jackets competed in the 221 Eye-Opener tournament this past weekend at Dorman High School where they got off to an impressive start with a 5-1 opening win over Gaffney.
“It was an opportunity for our new girls to get their feet wet,” said Jenkins. “Some of them really surprised me with how well they played in their first tennis match ever.”
Saturday morning brought a tough loss to a strong Dorman team, 0-6.
Jenkins said the loss was useful in realizing which areas need improvement. In the match, Allen lost 3-6,1-6 to Graham. Inman lost 0-6,1-6 to C. Pellegrino. Kingsmore lost 1-6, 1-6 to J. Pelligrino. Caroline Moss lost 0-6, 0-6 to to Thompson. Lee lost 1-6, 0-6 to Dossaji. Reid Bailey and Marissa McNeace lost 1-6, 2-6 to Marlow and Mehta.
Later that afternoon, the Jackets defeated Woodruff, 4-3 although Jenkins was disappointed in the overall effort in the match.
“They had no returners from last year’s team but they just continue to reload with girls who can play,” she said. “I think the ladies from Woodruff just wanted it a little more than we did. We were able to come together in our number one doubles match and pull out the win.”
Allen lost her match to Morris 6-1, 0-6, 4-10. Inman won against Foster 6-3, 6-3. Kingsmore played a tough match but fell to Bijeau 4-6, 6-1, 7-10. Moss lost to Osbourne 2-6, 1-6. Lee won 7-5, 6-0 against Lyda. In doubles play, McNeace and Bailey won 7-5, 6-2 over Thompson and Taylor. Allen and Inman won 6-4, 6-2 over Morris and Foster.
“Reid and Marissa have been playing well together and they pulled out a huge first win to keep us in the match,” said Jenkins. “We use this tournament each year as an opportunity to get better so we will be ready when our region play begins. This tournament opened our eyes to where we need to improve in order to be where we want to be at the end of the regular season.”