Pam Pack working through inexperience

Published 5:32 pm Friday, March 9, 2018

Tim Anglim was sidelined last season with a knee injury. Allen Crisp had just broken into Washington’s top six. The two are the Pam Pack’s No. 1 and No. 2 tennis players, respectively, and its top doubles pairing.

There’s been a lot of turnover from the 2017 squad. Ben McKeithan graduated, and others opted to focus themselves elsewhere. Still, Washington is confident in its ability to work through the kinks that may come with a lack of experience.

“It’s been interesting, but I think it’s been good,” coach Miranda Whitley said. “Even though a lot of those guys weren’t in the top six last year, they still got experience from playing those exhibition matches. So, I think doing that has helped them a lot.”

Many of them have stepped up as leaders, too. Whitley said she’s been pleasantly surprised with Anglim, Crisp, Courtland Whitley and Cameron Holford. They’re all upperclassmen that have been playing since their freshmen years.

Whitley said that Anglim worked his way up to the top role thanks to his athleticism and smarts on the court. However, like last year, the challenge matches between he and Crisp have been close.

As a tandem, they have different personalities on the court. It’s their friendship off the court that lends itself to chemistry.

“They’re good friends. Being good friends and growing up together, I think that’s helped them being partners,” Whitley said. “The communication isn’t always necessarily there while they’re playing, they move well together. They’re good at moving around the court.

“It really honestly reminds me of how Holt and Ben (McKeithan) played.”

Whitley and Holford were manning the third and fourth singles spots, respectively, for Thursday’s narrow win over Edenton. They each picked up a singles win and also won as a duo.

Whitley described their doubles style as unconventional. They may need to fine tune some aspects of their game, but their attitude goes a long way.

“That work ethic can go a lot further than hitting the ball like you’re supposed to,” she said. “It works for them.”

Washington, with a sweep of the Aces under its belt, now gears up for its first foray into the 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference. The Rams traditionally have a strong squad, so Tuesday’s match will be a tough test out of the gate.

“I think Greene Central and North Lenoir are the better teams for boys. They were for girls, so I would expect the same for boys,” Whitley said.

Winning in the conference would be nice, and its certainly possible, but Whitley’s measure of success will be a positive attitude throughout the campaign.

“I just want them to try their hardest,” Whitley said. “As long as I see them putting forth the best effort, then I’ll be happy with them. We’ve got some things to work on — some stroke fundamentals — that we’re trying to fix. We’ve got to work on some doubles strategies.”

It’s the details that Whitley has her eye on right now, and those are things that will come along with the season. That said, she’s excited not only for this season, but for what this year’s experience can mean moving forward.