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Like other spring sports participants, the York Comprehensive High School boys tennis team has battled through scrimmages and inclement weather during extensive preseason preparations.
There’s the offseason and preseason and now regular-season play has arrived, with ample momentum from last week’s success against the Gaffney Indians.
The Cougars were dominant throughout the scrimmage, with every player contributing to a total team win playing on the home courts at York in a scrimmage delayed two days by constant rainfall.
“The boys earned a well played 5-1 victory in last Thursday’s scrimmage over Gaffney,” head coach Phil Suggs said. “We hope to use that energy and inspiration as we enter a very competitive region this season.”
Suggs, who is the choral director at YCHS in addition to his tennis head coaching responsibilities, said the Cougars have five returning players, four of whom have varsity match experience.
“We have added two new players, sophomore Daniel Patterson and freshman Matthew Goforth, who are adding skill and competitiveness within the team,” Suggs said.
“Our goals are to improve shot-making and strategy,” noted the tennis mentor, who is assisted by local tennis veteran Johnny Wine.
“Tennis requires patience and a level head from each player,” Suggs said. “We are learning how to stay focused and play point-to-point regardless of the match score.”
Among the returnees for the 2013 season is junior Terry Doan, who plays No. 1 singles for the Cougars.
“I have to be able to accept the challenge every week,” sad Doan, who played No. 1 singles last year. “I have to play with confidence. It requires a positive mindset.”
Doan said playing No. 1 the previous season helps his confidence level this season, facing the opponent’s best player every match.
The YCHS mainstay said maintaining a level of confidence each match is vital to any player’s success on the court. “Never go into a match without knowing you can win,” Doan said.
Doan is pushed constantly by junior teammate Patrick Newberry, who plays No. 2 singles and knows what it’s like to assume the No. 1 slot.
“I moved to No. 1 singles last season by successfully challenging Terry,” Newberry said before a Friday afternoon practice. “I held No.1 for two weeks and he won it back.”
Moving his way up to No. 1 singles player was a huge confidence-builder for Newberry, who plays No. 2 singles with pride and confidence.
Newberry relies on solid ground strokes to gain an advantage on his opponent.
“I prefer to stay back and hit ground strokes from the baseline, rather than charge the net,” Newberry said. “I like to run my opponent with well-placed ground strokes.”
Newberry said the Cougar tennis team is practicing hard as Region 3-AAAA matches loom. “The younger players are improving their game each week,” he noted.
The Cougars host always-tough Fort Mill Thursday at 5 p.m. on the YCHS courts and will entertain region foe Lancaster Tuesday at 5 p.m.