FDA tennis team fighting for spot at state

Published 4:50 pm Friday, April 1, 2016

A few rays of sunlight breached a rather cloudy, uncertain playoff future for the Fort Dale Academy’s tennis program as the team hit the road Tuesday to Monroe.

Though the boys’ team fell to the Volunteers 5-2, the girls’ team won in convincing fashion 6-1.

The game—one of the final regular season matches of the year—is pivotal for the Eagles’ momentum moving forward into an unknown playoff picture.

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And despite the boys’ defeat, the experience for the young team is very much a reward in and of itself this season.

“We have two juniors, an eighth grader, two seventh graders, a sixth grader and a fifth grader,” said FDA assistant tennis coach Cindy Gaston.

“We only had two of those juniors who returned that had played on our team before, and one fifth grader we had last year returned.  Other than that, the entire boys team was new this year.

“They’ve all grown as players.  They’re becoming more competitive, and I think they’re enjoying the game.”

The girls’ team has enjoyed success on a more frequent basis, thanks to a bit more experience.  Four girls return to the team from last year, though they remain just as young as the boys’ team.  A number of junior players make of a core of the team’s leadership, and Gaston is hopeful that the unit will continue to lead the team to state.

Though the Eagles have a rather large obstacle awaiting them on the path to a state title in a pair of tough opponents from earlier this year.

“I think at state, Morgan and Tuscaloosa will have the toughest competition,” Gaston said.  “They were very strong.”

Only one home game remains, as Fort Dale prepares to host Eastwood Monday.

The area contest will prove crucial in deciding Fort Dale’s postseason fate, as well as a game with Glenwood on the road the following day.

The Glenwood game was originally slated for Thursday, but it was delayed due to the rain.  Fortunately, for the FDA tennis team, it hasn’t been much of a concern.

“I think we’ve still had many days where we could practice,” Gaston said. “It would be great if it were 75 and sunny every day, but I don’t think it’s any worse this year than normal.

“By Wednesday, we should know if we’re going to state or not.”

Fort Dale will square off with Eastwood Monday beginning at 3 p.m.