CLOVER — The Clover High School boys’ tennis team remained unbeaten entering this week’s play, sporting a 9-0 record overall and 7-0 in Region 3-AAAA competition.
Coach Phil Wingard said the team’s success comes from a fundamentally sound approach to the game, with commitment and work ethic factored in.
“We’ve had success this season by keeping the ball in play,” said Wingard . “We’re capable of hitting the ball hard. When you return your opponent’s best shot, that’s half the battle.”
Wingard has a simple coaching philosophy. “We work on footwork and conditioning at practice, not so much technique,” he said.
“If a player’s having difficulty with a shot, we’ll work on it but for the most part, we give them plenty of reps.”
Wingard also pays attention to the encouraging diet management, a good night’s sleep and three meals a day.
“If a kid sleeps until early afternoon, he’s missed two meals,” said Wingard. “A player should never miss breakfast.”
Wingard stands by his fundamental philosophy of the game. “We want our kids to play hard, keep the ball in play and force our opponent into mistakes,” he said.
Wingard keeps all of the players involved in a typical practice session. “There’s something for everyone to do, no standing around,” he said.
Sophomore Justin White, the Blue Eagles’ No. 1 singles player and a varsity participant since seventh grade, is a mainstay.
White knows what it takes to win, like staying in his comfort zone. “I like to serve and volley,” declared White. “It’s the best part of my game.”
White also plays basketball at CHS.
“I feel playing both sports benefits my performance in each sport,” he said. “Both sports require conditioning and hand-eye coordination.”
The Blue Eagles picked up victory No. 9 with a 7-0 win against an improved York team at the CHS courts last Friday.
White defeated Patrick Newberry 6-1, 6-0, with No. 2 singles Patrick Smith besting Daniel Patterson 6-2, 6-2.
No. 3 Rob Long defeated Terry Doan 6-2, 6-1, with No. 4 Garrett Smith nudging Matthew Goforth 6-2, 6-1 and No. 5 Holden McGill winning in straight sets, 6-0, 6-2.
The No. 1 doubles team of Andy Broom and Jay Rowland survived a closely-contested 8-7 match with Newberry and Patterson.
No. 2 doubles Elder and Cameron Scobie won by forfeit.
The Blue Eagles defeated Forestview 7-2 in a previous match last week.
White prevailed 6-1, 6-2, with Smith winning his match 6-3, 6-0.
Long was victorious 6-4, 6-1 and Smith bested his opponent 6-2, 6-0. Elder was beaten but not before extending his opponent to the limit in a 6-4, 2-6, 10-1 marathon match.
Elder prevailed in straight sets 6-2, 6-2.
In doubles action, White and Karlson picked up the win 8-4, with Clover’s Andy Broom and Jay Roland winning by forfeit. Gabriel D’Agostino and Nick Sanders lost an 8-2 match to Forestview.