The last decade belonged to Dwight Perry’s Mattoon squads.
Perry, the longtime Mattoon coach, and his assistant coach Joey Boyer were constants over the last 10 successful tennis seasons for the Lady Wave.
Mattoon high school finished third in the Big 12 conference to start the decade. When Mattoon transitioned to the Apollo Conference, that led to a string of five straight seasons in which Mattoon won the title.
From 2010-2015, Mattoon won six straight sectional titles and finished 80-43 in dual matches.
As for Charleston, the Lady Trojans tied Mattoon in 2012 for the Apollo Conference title, but have not seen the duplicated success. Two individuals and a doubles team highlighted Charleston’s best run during that time.
Our format follows that of a regular tennis match. We have our top six individuals, three doubles teams, we apologize to one, and added one for fun.
No. 6: Kyah Eastin (MHS Class of 2019): Eastin was a four-year varsity contributor, rising through the ranks to become the No. 1 singles player and a state qualifier. Eastin was on a double’s team in Mattoon’s 2016 Apollo title. Overall, Eastin’s consistency in placing in tournaments, the Apollo, and making state gives her the right to make the All-Decade singles team.
No. 5: Shannon Daniell (MHS Class of 2015): If Daniell weren’t on the same team as one of a teammate on this list, she might have been a multiple Apollo and sectional champion in singles competition. Daniell was a two-time state qualifier, including finishing as sectional runner-up to her own teammate. She was a fixture on the Apollo and sectional title teams.
No. 4: Kelsi Abolt (CHS Class of 2013): Abolt competed at the state tournament all four years, twice in singles and twice in doubles. Abolt teamed up with Madi Fisher to win the Apollo Conference doubles championship, which led to Charleston tying for the team title in 2012. Abolt finished as high as a sectional runner-up in postseason play. She eventually competed in the pole vault for Eastern Illinois University’s track team.
No. 3: Caroline Zuhone (MHS Class of 2013): Zuhone qualified for the state tournament three times and was once won a sectional champion in singles. Zuhone earned All-Big 12 Conference accolades when she teamed with Allie Seaman in 2010 to win the doubles championship. Starting her freshman year, Zuhone was always a top singles player for MHS.
No. 2: Maegan Flight (CHS Class of 2016): Flight was once ranked No. 1 in the mid-South region. In high school, Flight won 16 tournament championships and qualified for the state tournament all four years. She went 19-0 in singles during her senior year. A former Apollo Conference and sectional singles champion, Flight is heading into her senior year at the University of Illinois-Springfield.
No. 1: Molly Nguyen (MHS Class of 2016): Nguyen missed her senior season due to a knee injury, but has the upper hand on Flight. The two rivals constantly battled, but Flight had the upper hand most of the time. Nguyen was a three-time sectional singles champion and won the Apollo Conference singles title twice. In 2014, Nguyen was the Mid-South Player of the Year. Nguyen became the first Mattoon tennis player to sign with a Division I school since Lisa Warrem in 1978, playing for Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). She also received interest from Creighton and Butler at the time.
No. 3: Kayla Albin & Eva Bacon (CHS Class of 2016): Albin and Bacon consistently placed high at the Apollo Conference and were once a sectional runner-up in doubles. The two-time state qualifying duo were the only pair of teammates at CHS to qualify for the state tournament more than once.
No. 2: Claire Kidwell & Shelby Seaman (MHS Class of 2012): Kidwell and Seaman were two-time state qualifiers and had to compete in the competitive Big 12 Conference. They were also the No. 2 and No. 3 singles players, helping Mattoon take third in 2010. Together, the pair were a competitive duo.
No. 1: Rachel Ervin & Mary Zuhone (MHS Class of 2017): Zuhone and Ervin’s senior season was cut short after running into a buzzsaw of opponents from Teutopolis and Effingham St. Anthony, two tennis powers. However, Ervin and Zuhone finished as the Apollo Conference doubles champions their junior year. To top that off, the pair won a sectional championship, the only team in the decade to do so.