Both the Bearden boys and girls tennis teams have had solid starts to their season despite losing to Catholic on Monday.
The Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs are both 2-1 and have high expectations for the rest of the season as both teams hope to make runs deep into the postseason.
Sophomores Griffin Davis and Charlie Adams, who made it to the doubles state tournament last season, are leading the boys team this season as the number 1 and 2 spots on the boys team, respectively.
“Last year they were really talented,” Coach Tyler Lane said. “But this year we need them to be talented and mentally strong [to] help lead the team that way.”
Coach Lane said that his team has a solid line up all the way down the roster with the only two seniors on the boys team, Ryan Hammitt and Catholic High transfer Sam Greeley, heading up the number 3 and 5 spots on the team, respectively.
“We know that there is a lot of competition in our district,” Coach Lane said. “I think that we’ll have a chance to compete with the best teams.
“I don’t know if we’re the best, but I think we can be if we play our best tennis.”
Coach Lane said that the deciding factor for Bearden’s overall success is going to be how well the 4, 5, and 6 seeds play this season, because their individual wins usually swing the match.
The boys team is young and will have to rely on the experience of the seniors as well the talent of the underclassmen this season.
“[The seniors] bring a bit of steadiness,” Coach Lane said. “A bit of consistency, especially with their attitudes and their leadership. That’s what we’re gonna lean on them this year for, [for] sure.”
The Lady Bulldogs have started this season strong with sophomore Brittany Foust leading the team at the number 1 spot without her former doubles partner senior Abby Lowe, who previously held the number one spot, but due to an ongoing shoulder injury is unable to play this year.
Foust said that right now they have been mixing and matching partners to see who fits best with whom. Coach Lane said that most of the girls in the top six will most likely be partnered up with each other throughout the season. Sophomore Veronica Allen holds the number two spot for the girls team.
Coach Lane said that not having Lowe this season has been a significant loss to the girls team this year from a leadership standpoint, but like the boys team, they will heavily rely on their young talent and their senior leadership and experience to carry them this season.
Team captain and senior Magen Pearson, who joined the team last year, plus seniors Kelly Spade and Meagan Hodges, who have both played for Bearden since their freshmen year, will bring much experience and leadership to the girls team this season.
“We’re still expecting some good stuff from our girls,” Coach Lane said.
Coach Lane has implemented a new mission statement to help encourage his team to focus more on growing and improving as individuals than on winning.
“Tennis is just life sped up faster,” Coach Lane said. “It’s the same sort of trials and adversities and if we can handle those the right way in a tennis match, then we’ll be able to handle those in real life too.”
In preparing for the rest of this season, Bearden has transitioned to new assistant coach Seth Nutter, who previously coached at Central High school.
“He’s brought another level of competitiveness to our practices, and he’s been a real asset for us,” Coach Lane said.
All in all, both the boys and girls tennis teams will look to have great seasons as both teams as well as the individuals hope to make a huge postseason run in May.
“I [have] definitely got high expectations for this season,” Davis said. “Looking forward to playing with Chuck [Adams] again and seeing how far we can get.”
Added Foust: “I am hoping that we make it to the districts and hopefully do better than last year. We have a solid team, but last year we [the team as a whole] lost to Catholic to go to State, so hopefully [this year] we can make it.”
Bearden will face West on Thursday at West Hills at 4 p.m.