Talking Sports: Whitley discusses successful opening week

Published 8:23 pm Friday, March 3, 2017

Washington’s tennis season is off to a strong start. The Pam Pack won a close match against Edenton, 5-4, then flew past Ayden-Grifton, 9-0. Going 2-0 in the first week of the campaign is a promising sign for a group that, despite losing five seniors from last year’s team, has high hopes.

Things get tougher from here, though. Washington will take on tough opponents in Fike and Greene Central on Monday and Tuesday before hosting North Pitt for its 2-A Eastern Plains Conference opener on Wednesday. Playing three matches in three days will only compound the challenging competition.

Here’s what coach Miranda Whitley had to say about how Pam Pack tennis looks early in the season.


How the first week looked:

“The first match was a little rusty. I think there may have been, with all the new players in the top six, I think some of them may have been a little nervous. The second match was much better for us.”


How last year’s experience will pay off for the younger players:

“Last year, we had a lot of freshmen that were just starting out playing tennis. It was really good to have them because those are the players that are filling in the bottom part of the top six now. Hodges Tubaugh and Greyson Schmitt — he’s a senior now, but last year was his first year ever playing tennis. It’s been really good to see how they’ve learned the game of tennis.

“We’ve got Patrick Lovenberg, who is a freshman that’s also doing golf. He’s kind of alternating between the two, so he’s not there for every single match, but it’s still good to have him there. When Patrick’s not there, we have Allen Crisp.”


What she hopes to figure out against the tougher non-conference teams:

“(Fike) is a really strong team. The twins (Walker and John Gliarmis) are back from last year. They were really strong. They did lose their No. 1, 5 and 6, but I don’t think that’s going to make a difference. They still have a pretty good team, as far as depth goes. It’ll be good practice for our guys. I hope to see them play the best they can, have good matches and have a good, positive attitude.”


How doubles are shaping up:

“I think we’re going to be pairing up (Ben McKeithan) with Zack (Pagnani). I think that’ll be good for both of them. I haven’t really found out the rest of the doubles lineup yet. I’m still playing with some options. We have a lot of different personalities, and a lot of different styles. We’re working on that. Also, another big part of the doubles lineup is going to be when Patrick is playing.”


What’s looming in conference play:

“I hear North Johnston has all of their top six back from last year. We did a scrimmage at Greene Central last Friday. One of the coaches there said (North Johnston) looks pretty good. I think they’ll be the toughest competition for us, but I’m hoping we can get another conference championship.”