Brandolyn Thomas hits a backhand during a match at Sullivan Central last week. (Contributed photo)

By Keeli Parkey

The Unicoi County High School tennis teams made their head coach proud last week.

On Tuesday, April 3, the Blue Devils and Lady Devils traveled to Sullivan Central for a conference match with the Cougars.

The Blue Devils won the team competition, 5-4, thanks to singles victories by Trey Hatcher (8-0), Noah Starnes (8-2) and Chase Erwin (8-5) and doubles victories by the duos of Hatcher/Starnes (8-1) and Erwin/Ben Hensley (8-2).

“The boys team played very well against Sullivan Central,” head coach Karla Keesecker told The Erwin Record. “Trey Hatcher had an excellent singles match and didn’t give up a game defeating Central’s number one player. Noah and Chase also played great singles matches.  Erwin/Hensley defeated Sullivan Central’s doubles teams by playing some excellent doubles. I was also proud of Matthew Sutphin who is new to the team this year. He played very well for his first competitive match.”

The Lady Devils fell to Central in team competition, 7-2. Taylor Thomas won her singles match (8-4), then teamed up with Katlyn Higgins to win their doubles match (8-6).

“I was very proud of the way the girls played against Sullivan Central,” Keesecker said. “They fought for every game and competed well. Taylor played a great singles match. Taylor also won her doubles match with Katlyn. They played a good match and played aggressively and that helped them win.

“Even though they fell short, Brandolyn Thomas and Winter Day-Honeycutt did a great job in both their singles and doubles matches. I was really happy with the way they competed. Another player who did a great job at Sullivan Central was Katherine Altemose. She lost a close match, but fought hard and played well.”

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On Wednesday, April 4, the Lady Devils defeated Happy Valley in team competition without losing a match.

Winning their singles matches over the Lady Warriors were Day-Honeycutt, B. Thomas, T. Thomas, Carson Moore and Higgins. Doubles winners were the teams of Day-Honeycutt/B. Thomas; Altemose/Kate Hollenbeck.

“The girls did a wonderful job playing against Happy Valley,” Keesecker said. “They played well in difficult windy conditions only giving up one game the entire match.”

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The Blue Devils earned their second conference victory of the week with a 7-2 team victory at Volunteer over the Falcons on Thursday, April 5.

Singles winners were Hatcher (8-4), Starnes (8-2), Erwin (8-3) and Aaron Manzanares (8-5).

Doubles winners were Hatcher/ Starnes (8-0).

“I was really proud of the way all the boys played this week,” Keesecker said. “They have been working really hard this season on improvement and I feel like they are gaining confidence with every match.”

The Lady Devils lost to the Lady Falcons, 6-3.

Altemose won her match (8-6) and teamed up with Hollenbeck to win a doubles match (8-1). The doubles team of B.Thomas/T. Thomas won a close match (9-7).

“The girls played really well against Volunteer,” Keesecker said. “Brandolyn and Taylor played a great doubles match against the number one team from Volunteer. They fought hard, worked for every point and came out on top. 

“Katherine played well against Volunteer, not only winning her singles match, but her doubles match as well. She has been playing great so far this season. Natalia Hernandez and Katlyn Higgins played a really good close doubles match losing 9-7. Carson Moore played a great singles match, just falling short 8-6. She played really well fighting for every point. Another player who is doing well this season is Kate Hollenbeck. This is her first year playing tennis and she has already won three matches.”

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The UCHS team were scheduled to compete at Elizabethton on Tuesday, April 10, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline for this issue. They are scheduled to play at Science Hill on Thursday, April 12, at 3:30 p.m. and at Sullivan East on Tuesday, April 17, at 3:30 p.m.