Talking Sports: New-look Lady Pack tennis successful early on

Published 3:46 pm Sunday, September 10, 2017

There’s a lot new about this girls’ tennis season. Washington graduated five seniors — Nechelle Everette, Logan Crisp, Kelsi Waters, Sydney Lewis and Samantha McClure — from last year’s squad. The Lady Pack also moved into a new conference this year.

Despite all the changes taking place around them, the girls have found a good amount of success early on. They topped the likes of Currituck County, Tarboro and Riverside in non-conference play. Their first foray into 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference action was tough as they traveled out to Greene Central, which seemingly wins conference championships each year.

Thursday saw Washington collect its first win in the league. Kayla Clark and Mary Grace Wilder won close singles matches — two of five Lady Pack players to win one-on-one — as their team topped North Lenoir, 7-2.

Here’s what coach Miranda Whitley had to say about how the season is unfolding:


How she hopes to compete for second place, behind Greene Central:

“I know West Craven, we used to be in their conference way back when. They didn’t even have a girls’ team. I’ve talked to the Ayden-Grifton coach. I don’t know much about Kinston, and South Lenoir doesn’t have a team. … I’m hopeful. Even with Greene Central, one, two, and three singles started out really close. Then we had a rain delay and it was super windy. We hadn’t had much practice before the match.”


How pleased she is with the way players have stepped up to fill voids:

“I feel good. I was nervous about how this year was going to go with how many seniors we lost. Claire (Shepherd) and Kayla have been strong at No. 1 and 2. Having three seniors at three, four, and six has been really good.

“Bailey (Gerard) is doing well. … Tennis has not really been super important, but this year, being a senior, she’s really cared a lot. She’s worked really hard. Seeing that hard work, it’s part of why I put her in the top-six this year.”


How tennis newcomer Abbi Tucker has improved quickly:

“Softball is her sport. … She wanted to play a sport to stay in shape, so she gave tennis a try. She’s done really well. It’s her very first time. She’s very athletic. She has a good work ethic. She works really hard at it, and takes constructive criticism well. She’s doing awesome.”


Why she figured Kayla Clark would transition well to No. 2 singles:

“We kind of knew Kayla would be near the top this year. She was five or six last year. Out of all the top six last year, she won the most singles matches because of how consistent and how even-tempered she stays when she’s playing. Everybody knew she was going to be near the top.”



What doubles has looked like:

“I like Abbi and Bailey playing together. They get along when they’re playing together and they kind of work well backing each other up and talking to each other. I like No. 1 and 2 doubles, but there are still just some minor things to work on and develop.”