Sanderson breezed through its match against wild-card Apex with a 9-0 win for the first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A girls tennis dual-team playoffs Tuesday.
The Spartans (17-0) are just getting started, said coach Joe Mesiano.
“The first half of the season is like a basketball game,” Mesiano said. “We won the first half, but in order to get the whole thing, you have to win the second half, so this is just the first step. All my girls are playing really well, so we are getting into the mode to get ready for next week.”
Sanderson captain Kate Griffin said they are concentrating on staying in the moment as they move forward. Griffin went 6-0, 6-0 in her singles match against Cougars’ senior Caroline Roshelli.
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“We just have to take it one match at a time and not get ahead of ourselves and enjoy playing while we can and see how far we can go,” Griffin said.
Every season Mesiano said he hopes to develop the players’ strategy, and he has seen them improve in both practices and games, which has made them a strong competitor.
Apex coach Lynn Thomas said despite their 12-5 record, the Cougars need to welcome a new mentality to keep improving.
“In order to get further – past where we are now – there’s definitely a mentality where you really have to want to win to continue to go forward,” Thomas said. “It would be nice to see if I could instill that into my players.”
Apex will have a fairly young team due to five seniors graduating. She commended seniors Sydney Oyler and Melissa Romano on their leadership.
“I’m going to keep on working on depth and see if I can work on a mentality of stronger desire – continue to have fun on the court, but to try to make the girls more determined in their matches,” she said.
“We had good matches against Green Hope and Panther Creek – better than we have had in the past,” Romano said. “The fact that we made it into the dual-teams is good enough for me”
Although Apex lost in the first round, Thomas said she is grateful the team had the chance to play a strong team, like Sanderson.
“It gives us the opportunity to see the strength of other schools and conferences,” Thomas said. “It can help them strive to understand what the next level could be to get into.”
Sanderson will play Cardinal Gibbons next Tuesday in the second round of the dual-team playoffs.