The defending Class AAA champion is maintaining that lofty level in the 2013 season with an 11-1 record and a 3-0 mark in Region 6AAA going into Tuesday’s match with Centennial.
The Titans have been able to remain among the state elite, despite losing several players from last year’s state championship squad.
“It’s gone well,” Blessed Trinity coach Alan Keel said. “We lost a lot of talent from last year’s team. I graduated six seniors last year and four of them are playing college tennis. It’s a very different team. But even though we may not be as dominant a team, we are still very deep. We have a lot of good athletes. In the doubles lines, we’re very good. We can compete with just about anybody.”
Blessed Trinity is going for its sixth consecutive state crown as well as its seventh in eight years and eighth in 11 seasons.
The Titans, who were 22-0-1 last year, maintained a 27-match winning streak that began early last season and ended with a 4-1 loss to Class AAAAAA team Kennesaw Mountain March 11.
“I think success builds on itself,” Keel said. “People see how successful we are and want to come here for a good education. That’s what we push. We develop through our junior varsity program and we try to encourage kids to come here for education first and come out to play tennis. We just get them here and coach them up as well as we can. It’s not just a three or four month commitment for them – most of them play year round.”
While the Titans lost a large number of veterans from last year’s team, Keel said he still has a good mix of experienced and younger players.
“We have four seniors currently, but only two juniors, so it’s still a lot of experience,” Keel said. “But, we’ll be a lot younger next year. The leadership is here, the experience is here, which is good. We have a fantastic group of girls who really care about each other and are enjoying themselves. We lost some really good talent from last year’s team, but this group has really come together.”
Junior Nicole Haigwood and sophomore Julia Tasanasanta share the No. 1 and No. 2 singles positions, while senior Monica Estep plays No. 3 singles.
Junior Megan Foye and sophomore Jessica Hyland team up as Blessed Trinity’s No. 1 doubles unit, while seniors Kelly Higgins and Caroline Macolino and sophomore Kimberly Edwards each share the duties at No. 2 doubles.
Blessed Trinity’s biggest challengers for the AAA title should once again come from its own region, with 6AAA rivals Woodward – who the Titans beat in last year’s finals – and St. Pius X ready to contend.
“We’re in a very tough region,” Keel said. “It’s probable that one or two of the top three teams will be playing in the state championship – Woodward and St. Pius as well. It’s not an easy road and they definitely earn it when they get there. That is our goal, to win another one.”