Lady Wolves tennis has new attitude in 2017

Published 10:47 pm Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Under the direction of first year head coach Blake Smith, the Lady Wolves hope to take the courts with a different attitude this season. With four sophomores returning, and the addition of several strong freshmen, Smith believes 2017 can be a turn-around season for the program.

“Our goal is to improve across the board,” said head coach Smith. “We are striving for a winning season this year, and I believe it is something that we can accomplish.”

Smith has taken the program to the next level this year with the addition of two international players, Ximena Daza and Laura Vargas, both from Bogota, Colombia. Smith looks for these players to elevate the entire team.

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“It’s a plus to have these international players; it evens the playing field for our local players when it comes to competing with other teams that have internationals,” said Smith. “Ximena looks to fill our No. 1 singles role and had great fall matches and looks to build off those experiences.”

Daza and Vargas both had strong showings in the fall ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) tournament and proved they are going to be a force in the MACJC.

Returning for their sophomore seasons are Bayli Battle of Jayess, Miss, along with Julie Kramer, Chantel Quarles, and Susanna Ratcliff, all of Brookhaven. These players gained valuable experience last season as they competed in singles and doubles. Smith said,

“These players played our No. 3 through No. 6 spots last season and really learned the game at this level.”

With this new knowledge and another year of experience on the courts, look for the sophomores to lead the Lady Wolves throughout the 2017 season.

New to the team this year are three local freshmen. Madison Franklin and Maddie Ogden, Brookhaven natives, and Logan Prather of Magee all hope to utilize their abilities on the court to benefit the Lady Wolves.

“Ogden was a great high school doubles players and has a strong presence at the net and Franklin has taken huge strides since August,” said Smith. “Prather has a dangerous slice forehand that can give players trouble.”

With nine solid players on the roster, starting roles have not been decided.

“The field is wide open for our six singles spots,” said Smith. “We have several options with our No. 2 and No. 3 doubles slots, and we will try a lot of combinations and see which duo clicks.”

With a talented group of local and international freshman, a core group of returning sophomores, and depth throughout the roster, the stage is set for success for the Lady Wolves in 2017.