In season prep, GHS tennis coach goes back to basics

  • Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Chris Sokoloski/South Strand News Georgetown High School tennis coach Grace George, left, works with Kaitlin Bellune, center, and Kirsten Vause during practice on Aug. 14.

Grace George has three weeks to get Georgetown High School’s girls tennis team ready for its first match.

The Lady Bulldogs open the season Sept. 9 hosting region rival St. James.

It’s a very young team, and with only 12 members, one of the smallest teams George has coached in 11 seasons.

“I’m looking forward to a small team because I think you can do more with the younger kids to teach them tennis, which is a good thing,” George said.

Several of the girls are new to tennis, so George is spending time on the basics, like keeping score.

Of the five singles spots on the team, three will be filled by girls who played varsity last year.

Senior Caroline Goodwin is expected to continue to play No. 1 singles this year. Taylor Howe played No. 3 singles last year, but could compete for the No. 2 spot this year. Kendal Blakely played doubles last year but will be competing for a singles spot this season.

“I think it’s going to be a learning experience for everyone, it’s a hard schedule,” George said. “It’s a hard region to play in. But I think the good news is we have some girls that play multiple sports. … they may be inexperienced at tennis but they’ve at least played sports before.”

Georgetown will no longer have to face perennial state title contender Socastee in its region. The Lady Braves moved up to Class AAAA and were replaced by Lake City.

Due to a South Carolina High School League rule change two years ago, four teams from the region will make the playoffs instead of two.

“That’s more attainable when you’re in such a difficult region,” George said.

Despite the small numbers this season, George is pleased with the growth of tennis at Georgetown High.

“Our whole goal is just to build more interest in the sport of tennis and make it something they can do with their families,” she said. “Something that they want to do for a lifetime.”

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