The season hasn’t even started yet, and already Kenny Moore is somewhere between confident and elated.
Moore is the head tennis coach for LaGrange High School. The coach took his girls to the Class AAAA State Tournament last season in a so-called rebuilding year. The Lady Grangers won 13 matches in 2017, and both the coach and his girls are shooting for much more this season.
“We have a chance for a really great year. We want to win the region, and we want to make it to the state tournament,” said Moore.
He thinks those team goals are realistic. The Lady Grangers have talent and match experience. They have a mixture of young and old. Moore is confident for a reason.
Okay, go ahead and make that 12 reasons.
“We have eight returning (varsity) girls, and we have four incoming freshmen. Our team is going to be much improved. We lost no seniors,” said Moore, who is a notorious winner in Georgia high school tennis.
Unlike last year, Moore and the Lady Grangers will have some senior experience on this year’s team with singles player Abbi Lynn Lanier and doubles player Youngju Cho.
Also returning to this region-contending Lady Granger squad are six more varsity dynamos with sophomore Jina Shin, and juniors Lizzie Wilkerson, Kelsey Anne Cadenhead, Lauren Yarbrough, Jamie Livingston and Kaylee Key.
They know how to win, and they know how to battle. Lanier and Wilkerson combined for 18 singles wins last spring. Livingston, a pleasant surprise, chipped in eight doubles wins. Key also had an 8-4 season in singles play.
Shin delivered, too, with 10 singles victories in 2017. Cadenhead won four doubles matches. Cho went 20 in doubles play, and Yarbrough won three matches in doubles.
Annie Pauley is armed and capable, too. She is one of the four freshmen for this year’s Lady Granger tennis edition. The daughter of Mike and Lynn Pauley has been waiting a lifetime for this chance to play for LaGrange High.
“This is a family tradition. I want to hit the ball harder and add some pace. You just have to hit the ball in one more time than your opponent. We are going to be good. I am real excited for my first season (at LHS),” said the 5-foot- 4 Annie Pauley.
The other three freshmen who could see varsity time for the Lady Grangers include Louise Dotson, Ella Island and Wone-Mi.