Order on the court

Tiger Tennis prepared to “ace” this year’s competition

Junior Jebin Justin prepares to return a shot against Evangel. The tennis team won this match and has found early season success.

Photo by Kaitlyn Gordon

Junior Jebin Justin prepares to return a shot against Evangel. The tennis team won this match and has found early season success.

Story by Jonathan Naples, staff writer

Their court, pristine and blue. Their spirit, vibrant and orange. Their record — promising and untarnished.

After a long summer, the Tiger tennis team is ready to continue their dominant ways on the court. The team has already defeated Frisco Liberty, Tyler Lee and Evangel and has their sights set on a state championship.

“So far, we have won every match we have played,” senior Conner Elliott said. “Last year, we lost our first match, but now, we are doing much better.”

Last season, the team raced through district until they fell against Frisco Liberty in the playoffs. Since then, the players have intensified their practice and conditioning to prepare for regionals this season.

“We’re making a more conscious effort to play good non-district matches every fall season,” tennis coach Toby Watson said. “This year, we tried to do a better job with the fall schedule to try to push our kids a little further this season with our district schedule not being extremely tough.”

With 10 girls and 12 boys, the team has already caught fire this season. They continue to gain confidence as the team looks to prove how competitive they can be with other schools and themselves.

“This year, I am expecting a better overall outcome in our matches,” Elliot said. “Last year, we had five or so guys that were playing their very first year of varsity. Now, our overall experience gives us a great advantage.”

Along with the physical aspects of tennis, the team hopes to focus on the  mental side of the game as well to prepare for real-game scenarios.

“One thing Coach Watson has always told us is to keep up the ‘high intensity,’ ” senior Tirzah Bailey said. “It’s clear now more than ever that it helps us make it through the tough matches.”

The team is storming toward district with only one thing in mind: to show their might. Only time and practice will tell whether they will rise to the top or leave people waiting for the next season.

“I hope that we continue to play strong and keep it known that Texas High doesn’t give up even when we’re down,” Bailey said. “I want us to make it to the regional finals both in the fall and spring, while growing closer in our friendships throughout the year.”

The tennis team’s next matches are against Midlothian and Corsicana at the Cascades Country Club in Tyler on Friday.