Pillow: WHS tennis aiming upwards | Sports

BOONE – In early 2021, the Watauga girls’ tennis team entered the season hoping to grow and focus on development, while the fall sport was moved to the spring season. With less than three months offseason, they go into the coming season and expect one thing – dominance.

“I’ll keep the same mindset where – yes, I want to joke them – but at the same time, I want the girls to just go out and have fun and experience competitive high school tennis,” said trainer Jennifer Pillow. “This is my third year, I’m not going to lie and say that I’m only here to have fun. This is our third year and we have a really strong team. Let us dominate. “

After a season where the Pioneers went undefeated and top-seeded Jillian Russert reached the quarter-finals of the state playoffs, Pillow doesn’t have to deal with something many of her peers have to do as last year’s squad didn’t have seniors. While other coaches will try to replace key players, Pillow will bring a strong team that has only gotten stronger.

“I have Jillian coming back. I have Sienna Davidson – a newbie – and she and Jillian go back and forth to see who wins, so my one and two are interchangeable and super powerful, ”said Pillow. “Amira Younce, who played number two for me last year, will play number three for me. She was unbeaten with two, she will remain unbeaten with three. “

Also returning are Ellary Maiden, the only other senior citizen, and Madison Ogden. Maiden finished fourth last season and went undefeated in conference play, while Pillow said Ogden has taken massive steps towards her junior year.

“(Ogden) had a great freshman season, but last year wasn’t their season,” said Pillow. “In the last six weeks of this break, something clicked and it really worked. She’s a super sweet, quiet kid, but when she comes to this place there is no mercy. “

Pillow pointed out that while other teams have strong top three and then try to fill in the rest of the six seeds, Watauga considers eight players to win on their positions.

“It’s a big problem, but it’s stressful for the coach,” said Pillow. “They all deserve to play, I just don’t have the slots for them. I’ll do my best to make it work and everyone is busy. “

The large number of high-profile players is only part of the influx of talent the team has gained this season. After having a roster of 11 players last season, the Pioneers will carry enough this year to line up a junior roster of 28 total.

While the JV team won’t have opponents to play with, Pillow says they’ll stay a part of the team if they’d just been cut beforehand. She added that the expanded teams will only be beneficial for the future of Pioneers girls tennis thanks to the addition of a few volunteer coaches.

When the Pioneers open their season against South Caldwell on Tuesday, August 31st, they will begin a season that will be fast and competitive. By October 6th, they’ll have 11 games in just over a month.

“We’ll be done in almost five weeks and then it’s off to the postseason,” said Pillow. “It’s tough because it’s also the second month of school (the players), school gets a little tougher and they definitely have to deal with a lot more than just showing up and playing well. I appreciate your commitment to the team and your desire to take home another conference championship. “

Comments are closed.