The Amory tennis team has reached a milestone – qualifying for the playoffs for the first time since the system was implemented in 2009.
They took a first-round loss on the road at Cleveland on Monday in their first playoff appearance.
“They’ve been really motivated this year, and I think next year, we’re going to have a really good year as well,” Amory tennis coach Lindsey Patterson said. “We’re losing some good seniors, but we have some good young talent as well that’s ready to step up and work hard to do what they need to do.”
Part of that young talent is eighth-grader Luke Flippo, who has also qualified for the state tournament in boys’ singles.
“He plays year round, multiple tournaments a month, and he’s wonderful singles player,” Lindsey Patterson said. “He’s developing into a pretty good doubles player.”
Flippo split sets with a senior from Pontotoc who had won state before at last week’s division tournament.
“He’ll have a tough time at state, but he’s not counted out by any means,” Lindsey Patterson said. “He’s going to play close with everybody down there. It’s his first time down there, but I definitely think he’ll have several more chances to win one before he graduates.”
Lindsey Patterson praised her four-person senior class of Taylor Robbins, Tucker Robbins, Hannah Schmoock and Madison Crouch.
Schmoock and Taylor Robbins made state last year in mixed doubles.
“Tucker (Robbins) and Hannah (Schmoock) had tough opponents this year in mixed doubles and didn’t quite make it,” Lindsey Patterson said. “Taylor (Robbins) played boys’ doubles and also had some tough opponents. I really wish they had another year because I think that would be our year.”
Madison Crouch played girls’ singles and doubles with partner Megan Finney and had strong matches in both.
Like all the other spring sports, weather has made practice time difficult for the tennis team.
“It’s killed us for all our practices,” Linzy Patterson said. “We can go to the football indoor to do our agility stuff, but that takes us away from the court.”
Linzy Patterson said they’ve moved people around in singles and doubles depending on the opponent.
“It’s a big difference from playing singles and doubles in tennis,” he said. “When you step on the court with another player, you have to communicate. As a team, it’s kind of been a puzzle, trying to find the pieces that will fit for that match. Overall, these kids have gotten so much better from day 1 to now, and that’s attributed to their hard work. We have kids who want to stay even after practice.”
Amory had a strong showing at the division tournament but had Flippo as the lone qualifier for state.
“We had several win their first round matches and some win their second,” Lindsey Patterson said.
“Overall, we didn’t win enough to take more to state, but they played really well. Some people really stepped up to the plate and played at the top of their game,” said Patterson
Lindsey Patterson said she’s hoping to ramp up their offseason work.
“We hope they will play all summer because it’s not just a three-month sport,” she said. “We want them to play in some summer tennis to get more involved.”