Chargers feature mix of youth, experience

Posted Monday, Sep. 02, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Finishing fourth in the district tennis standings left the Central squad at home last season.

This year, a top four finish will send the team tennis contingent into the playoffs.

The expansion to a fourth spot this year is just what the Chargers and head coach Wes Madis may need to boost a team chock full of young players.

Granted, some of the Chargers may have some experience, but with the team-based scoring in matches for the fall season, just as many players are coming in new.

Madis said there are five sophomores in the top eight, for example. Four of the girls are returners, but another four are new.

In the six matches through last weekend, the Chargers were 3-3 and had just lost to Keller, 15-4.

“We won as many matches as we did last year with mostly new players,” Madis said of the Keller meeting. “And four matches were really close.”

The matches with the other district teams will form the seedings for the district tournament and determine the playoff teams in October.

“We graduated the most of any Keller (ISD) school,” Madis said. “We have experience at the top of our players and the rest are new.”

Madis said in the 10 years he’s been at Central, the program has yet to take a fall season squad to the playoffs, but with the expansion to four teams, he feels the Chargers may be in the running this year.

“We’ve had spring season success, but never in the fall,” he said.

Two of the Central seniors helping lead the way are Brandon LeBlanc and Rachel Morisseau.

LeBlanc has been playing just since middle school and is putting in extra effort in his senior season to hopefully make the difference in earning a playoff slot.

“We’ve been working extra hard because of our losses to Keller and Richland last year in the district tournament,” LeBlanc said.

In doubles, LeBlanc said he’s been partnering with Austin Perry, a sophomore, while also playing singles.

LeBlanc and Perry lost a close No. 1 doubles match against Keller, but are confident the tandem will be continually improving.

Determined to make a difference this year, LeBlanc said there would be workouts on the Labor Day holiday. They were scheduled to take on the other district nemesis, Richland, on Tuesday.

Morisseau, who Madis said has taken over the leadership role for the team, also feels confident about the direction of the Chargers this season.

“I think things are going really well,” Morisseau said. “We are able to compete to our fullest ability and I have faith in everyone to compete.”

As the district schedule has started, Morisseau and the Chargers said they are looking forward to the competition.

“We’ve started off strong with two big wins,” Morisseau said, “and it shows what we’re capable of and that we can fight and compete.”

The difference this year goes beyond an expanded playoff field, Morisseau said.

“I feel like this year we’ve come together as a team,” she said. “We’re playing close matches and we can go the extra mile when we need it.”

Madis said Central is almost there.

“We just need a solid win for our confidence to take us to next level.”

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