By Kyle Daubs
Out with the old and in with the new.
That may not be the motto of the Mattoon Green Wave tennis team, but it certainly feels that way as this young team enters the season.
The Wave graduated former state qualifiers and Apollo Conference doubles champions Tess Huene and Emily Stortzum and brought back just two seniors, as well as many first-time juniors.
It will also be boys tennis coach Joey Boyer’s first go-around as head coach for the girls. Boyer has coached the boys program for 11 years and steps in for the semi-retired Dwight Perry. After last season, Perry stepped down after three stints of coaching the girls’ program and more than 50 years of coaching several sports in the district.
Boyer was the assistant to Perry all those years with the girls. Perry will remain a volunteer assistant, while former Mattoon state qualifier Rachel Ervin will assist Boyer this season.
“Rachel is a former varsity tennis player of ours and is a perfect fit to help guide and teach the young girls how to play,” said Boyer. “Dwight Perry is our volunteer assistant and he loves to come and work with our beginner players. He does a great job as expected.”
Leading the Wave at the top will be co-captains Caroline Davis and Annelise Overmyer. Sophomore Lily Gregory played at No. 6 singles last year but will play up to No. 3. At the No. 4 spot, freshman Avery Boyer will see time right away. Competition for Nos. 5-6 will take place among Regan Shumway, Laine Butler, Kate Hampton and Avery Gill.
“All of these girls have match-play experience and understand the game,” said Boyer. “Regan and Lanie are our five and six players. We have a couple JV girls that I expect to compete for a varsity spot this year. Kam Lathrop and Gracie Willingham are freshmen and played all summer. They are very competitive and eager to move up. Also, sophomore Sydnee Stoltzfus is a player that has impressed me. Overall, we have 18 players on the team.”
Mattoon played in the Triad Quad this past weekend, beating Alton, lost to Triad, and won 4 out of 6 singles against Highland before calling it off because of the heat.
Mattoon will get their first taste of the Apollo Conference against Effingham on Tuesday and then see more than two weeks from now when the Wave host the Mattoon Invitational.
“I believe we have the talent to compete in the Apollo,” said Boyer. “How good we will be will depend on how quickly our young players can learn and deal with pressure. As far as who wins the conference, I believe the Apollo is up for grabs this year. All the teams are well-coached and capable of winning.”
|08/31||@ Effingham High School||4:00 PM|
|09/02||@ Casey Westfield High||4:00 PM|
|09/11||Mattoon High School Invite||8:00 AM|
|09/14||@ Flora High School||4:00 PM|
|09/15||@ Champaign Centennial||4:00 PM|
|09/16||vs. Mahomet Seymour||4:00 PM|
|09/18||@ Chatham Glenwood Invite||TBA|
|09/20||@ Teutopolis HS||4:00 PM|
|09/21||@ Urbana High School||4:00 PM|
|09/28||vs. Mt Zion High School||4:00 PM|
|09/30||@ Paris High School||4:00 PM|
|10/01||@ Apollo tourney at Mt Zion||1:00 PM|
|10/02||@ Apollo tourney at Mt Zion||9:00 AM|
|10/06||@ Charleston High School||4:00 PM|
|10/12||vs. St Anthony (Senior Night)||4:00 PM|
|10/16||@ TBA – Sectional||TBA|
|10/21||@ TBA – State 10/21-23||TBA|