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Teams drop first two matches

The Unicoi County High School tennis teams opened the 2015 season with two matches last week.
The Blue Devils and Lady Devils faced Sullivan North in the first match of the season on Tuesday, March 10. The season did not start as the teams would have hoped as North scored team victories over both the Devils and Lady Devils.
Squaring off against Elizabethton on Thursday, March 12, the Lady Blue Devils netted a pair of individual match wins but fell, 7-2 in team action. The Blue Devils fell to Elizabethton, 8-1.
It was an important opening week for the team, head coach Jonathan Kenney said, with a rushed preseason.
“I really thought it was an important week for us,” he said. “We were really focused on just getting our feet wet and getting used to things. We didn’t have the time to prepare as we would have liked coming in the season because of the weather, but it was big to get rid of some of those butterflies.”
Despite the losses, Kenney said the team made progress.
“I was impressed with our guys,” Kenney said. “The scores don’t really do justice to the progress they made from our time out with Sullivan North to Thursday. We’re practically a brand new team, but we saw guys really be competitive.”
Sam Murillo scored an 8-3 win at the number three spot for individuals against Elizabethton. Dalton Spears fell, 8-3, but showed progress as emerging as the team’s top seed, Kenney said.
“He kept fighting,” he added about Spears. “The guy he faced, Zeb Moore, from Elizabethton has improved a lot since last year. At one point he was down, 6-1, but was able to win two to keep things going.”
Randy Cooper, John Singleton, Christian Leon and Carter Powers all gave solid efforts in individual action while the team of Fernando Castellon/Powers pulled close in the number three doubles’ match, falling 8-5.
For the Lady Devils against Elizabethton, Victoria Bailey and Brittnie Rice scored their second consecutive individual wins after coming away with wins against North.
Kamillie Harris, who scored a victory against North, also came up just shy on the end of an 8-6 score to Halie Collins, a Milligan College-signee. Emily Lynch fell in the number one singles match to defending state champion, Danielle Vines.
Amanda Rogers and Laurel Koenig rounded out the individual tennis players.
UCHS lost all the doubles matches to Elizabethton.
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The Blue Devils will receive a breather this week. The ladies hosted Happy Valley on Tuesday, March 17. UCHS will also have two home matches next week with South Greene and Johnson County.