This season might be chalked up to be a rebuilding effort for Southlake Carroll’s tennis team. The Dragons lost a solid senior class.
It’s youth and inexperience that head coach Corey Aldridge is looking to lead his team.
“We’ve got some underclassmen that are looking to step up, and then hopefully we’re going to have some incoming freshmen that will move right in and help out as well,” Aldridge said.
The boys team lost its top four, Aldridge said. Rising junior Matt Landers was the Line 5 player last year and rising sophomore Callen DiGiovanni played on Line 6. Aldridge will look to them since they will move up the ladder.
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“Really going to be leaning hard on those guys, not only on the court but also as far as their leadership goes as far as the team,” Aldridge said.
DiGiovanni said he tries to be a good teammate, lead well and make good decisions.
“I try to be my best and so I feel honored that (Aldridge) thinks of me that way,” DiGiovanni said.
The girls team lost Kelley Anderson, who went on to play at Baylor this year. Rising junior Cameron Wang played Line 6 last year and only lost one or two matches last year, Aldridge said.
“Last year, I guess looking back, I didn’t lose that many matches. Since it’s Line 6, it’s like the lowest singles line you can play, so I guess it kind of made it easier for me to win more of my matches. So if I do play a higher line this year, it should be really tough,” Wang said.
The rising seniors didn’t play much, but that doesn’t mean they can’t contribute as leaders. The best captain Aldridge ever had never played a match in his career, he said.
“It’s just leading not only on the court but also leading in practices, and doing what’s right, and a lot of it has to be just being vocal,” Aldridge said.
But so far, it’s Landers, DiGiovanni and Wang leading the way. The team is in the middle of tryouts, which started on July 23 and will end Aug. 1. The team’s first official practice is Aug. 4.
“I have high hopes for the team,” DiGiovanni said. “I think we could be really successful if we work hard and just stick to it. I know we lost a lot of seniors from this past year just graduating, but with the new people joining the team, I really have high hopes.”
With the district realignment, Carroll will now face Colleyville Heritage and Coppell. Many of the kids know the Coppell kids from practicing with them outside of school, so it’s a big, friendly rivalry between the two schools, Aldridge said.
“They’re good,” Aldridge said. “We’ve got that date circled when we play those guys, and it will be a battle. I think on paper, the two favorites in our district will probably be either us or them, so it’ll be interesting.”