During the course of her regular practice regimen at Petersburg Racquet Club, Greenbrier High School tennis player Addison Price has had to endure some trash talk.
Her tormenters from Lakeside High School had their reasons. The Lady Panthers win region tennis titles every year, and the Lady Wolfpack has become accustomed to second place.
"Usually, if we talk about high school tennis, they're telling us how bad we are," Price said. "They'll be quiet now."
The Greenbrier girls opened the 2003 season by beating Lakeside, marking the first time the Lady Pack has knocked off their county rivals.
"We went into it kind of nervous, but during the matches we started gaining confidence," Price said.
The Lakeside and Greenbrier tennis teams have been competing in Region 3-AAAA since the 2001 season, and Lakeside's boys and girls have dominated the court.
Greenbrier's Ami Flowers returns a volley during practice after school. The Greenbrier girls opened their 2003 season with a win over Lakeside High School, marking the first time they've knocked off their county rivals.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The Lady Panthers won region and were Class AAAA runners-up last year, while the Lady Pack settled for second in region play and lost in the second round of the state tournament.
Still, the early win over Lakeside might not classify as an upset. The Lady Pack lineup has been bolstered by the addition of freshman singles player Dana Makerson and doubles player Bianca Redfern, an exchange student from Brazil.
"Lakeside has lost some good players, and we've gained some good players," Greenbrier senior Ami Flowers said. "I feel positive about our team this year. We're playing really good and the chemistry is working."
Flowers and Redfern play No. 1 doubles, while Leslieann Ramos and Cassie Rountree are at No. 2 doubles. Greenbrier's singles lineup features Price, a junior who has only lost two matches in her high school career, No. 2 player Ellica Moore and Makerson at No. 3.
Coach Kim Buchanan, in her second season with Greenbrier, can sense a possible changing of the guard.
"The girls have really shown some drive, especially because of the win over Lakeside," Buchanan said. "They know now that they are serious competitors. Lakeside is our main competition. Defeating them spells good things for our girls in the region."
When it comes to the Lakeside and Greenbrier boys, the story is a bit different. The Panthers are loaded again this year, and trounced the Pack in the season-opener.
"We want to win region, but that's going to be kind of hard with Lakeside. They whipped up pretty bad," Greenbrier senior Patrick Gelinas said. "We have a pretty strong team. We just need to settle down and practice harder."
Gelinas leads the Pack at No. 1 singles. Senior Zach Zapata and sophomore Alex Trakowski round out singles for the Pack. Ross McVeigh and Thomas Vaiden are the No. 1 doubles team. Lance Pollaty, Tyson Thaxton, Zac Atkinson and Jerry Ashmore have been rotating in the No. 2 doubles slot.
Coach Buchanan has practically conceded that the Lakeside boys will win the Region 3-AAAA crown.
And considering the Greenbrier girls had to claw out a narrow 3-2 margin over Lakeside in the season opener, the Lady Panthers could still pull an ace out of their sleeve when the region tournament rolls around next month.
"Even though we've beaten them once this season, it was close. We didn't beat them that bad," Price said. "I really think we can win region, but it won't be easy."
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