Whitley breaks down Lady Pack tennis

Published 10:55 pm Monday, August 22, 2016

Washington tennis returns all but one starter — Danielle Duckwall — from last year’s squad that went 9-1 in 2-A Eastern Plains Conference competition. Suffice to say that the Lady Pack has a lot of experience on this team. Expectations are high because of that.

The team started off the season with back-to-back 6-3 losses. They came against tough groups in Edenton and New Bern. Building a challenging schedule is something coach Miranda Whitley enjoys doing for the non-conference stretch of the season. It helps prepare the Lady Pack for the conference portion of its schedule, which is where Whitley hopes they will excel.

Beyond that, seeing tough competition now — and later against the likes of Beddingfield — should help Washington prepare for the postseason, too.

Here’s what Whitley had to say about the start to the 2016 campaign.


On the challenging start to the season:

“New Bern is a very strong team. They have a lot of players, a lot of tall girls and they’re very strong. We lost to them 6-3. That day we played Edenton, a lot of my girls were really struggling with the heat. It was one of the hotter days we’ve had. We’ve been practicing in the morning, so playing in the heat in the afternoon was hard for them.

“We’ve definitely got some minor things to work on, but we are making progress and they’re trying as hard as they can.”

On the team’s experience:

“We lost our No. 1 player and everybody else has kind of moved up a spot from where they were last year. Our No. 7 (Kayla Clark) player from last year, she’s a sophomore, she’s our No. 6 player this year. She’s had a really good start for a No. 6 player who doesn’t have the experience the other players have. The experience of the other players and her success so far, it looks pretty good.

On who to look out for this season:

“Nechelle Everette is out new No. 1 player. She’s been playing a lot this summer, so she’s doing well and improving. The other two seniors in the top six are Logan Crisp and Sydney Lewis. Then we have two juniors after that — Mary Grace Wilder and Mary Belle Johnson.”

On what the team’s expectations are this year:

“I just hope that we can be successful in conference. We have not been conference champions in the past few years. We’ve lost it to Beddingfield. Last year we tied for the conference championship. I just hope that we can have successful conference play this year.”