Green Wave players look forward to MAIS South State Tennis

Published 5:11 pm Wednesday, April 13, 2022

NATCHEZ — Tennis coach Frankie Spence worked with Cathedral’s team Tuesday afternoon as they prepared for South State next Tuesday. They worked on attacking the ball, playing aggressively and using movement to improve their game.

He challenged them to think smarter and hit intelligent shots. Players’ racket language can tell what their shot will be, he said in each drill. Green Wave players could think ahead and react better by paying attention and moving into smarter positions. 

Four of the six players going to South State are seniors with Alex Monagan being the youngest of the bunch. In stoppages of practice, he moved constantly and dribbled a tennis ball between his legs with each step in a rhythmic cycle. 

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“I have to win state this year. I’m not worried about south state. I’m just worried about winning,” Monagan said. “I just have to play like I’ve been playing all year. My mindset has been to try to win all year. Today, I learned from Frankie how to think more. I have to play more aggressively and move my feet. It helps me get better in spots where I wasn’t last year.” 

Last season, he made it to the state finals but did not win it. He is the youngest player on the team but proves he can still be better than a lot of the older players. 

Senior Meredith Lessley hit a few shots against the fence and watched them bounce back to her racket. She and her partner Brady Gamberi made it to South State in Mixed Doubles. This is the first year they have played together, she said. 

“It’s fun. You have your good days and bad days,” Lessley said. “We depend on each other to win, and we work equally as hard. We encourage each other too.” 

After a shaky start, they came back to win in their second match in the district tournament. Lessley said they were nervous and fell behind 0-2 but came back to win 6-2, 6-2 to punch their ticket to South State. 

Spence showed her a tactic to help Brady get to his forehand in practice. She also learned more technical things and how to move her feet to set up shots. A goalkeeper in soccer, Lessley said her experiences in goal help her jump for balls over her head. She feels ready for South State. 

“I’m pretty excited. I made it three years ago. I want to win and move on to state. I want to play well,” Lessley said. “I’m nervous, but hopefully it won’t be my last tournament. I’m going to miss Mrs. Beth and Renee Pyron and the team of course…We are ready to bring it to the south state.”