This fall, the Lejeune High School girls’ tennis team is led by its two returning players from last year’s team that was the 1A East Region’s runner-up – seniors Georgia Lee and Caroline Morgan.
In her junior season, Lee made it to the quarterfinals of the state’s 1A singles championship. This year, she plans on making it back to state tournament and getting to the semifinals or finals.
“Individually, I want to make it to state again this season, but go further, not just to the first round,” Lee said. “As a team, I want to go as far as we did last year, (to the regional final).”
The key to being one of the area’s top 1A teams for the second year in a row? According to Lee, it is going to take not only hard work, but a positive attitude from all six of Lejeune’s players.
Third-year tennis coach Michael Phillips, who said Lee has enough talent to play tennis in college, doesn’t want to see her season end anywhere short of the 1A state championship match this fall.
“I’ve been talking to Georgia since last year stopped that she needs to get to the state championship finals,” Phillips said. “She’s got the tools to get there. It’s now, mentally can she tell herself ‘I’m good enough to do it’ and do it?”
Morgan, who is focused on having fun in her final season of tennis at Lejeune, agreed with Lee that a lot of work needs to be put in by this year’s team to compete at an elite level.
“We really just need to practice more and work on our hand-eye coordination to get better individually and better as a team to win matches,” Morgan said.
Joining Lee and Morgan to round out the top three individual slots this season is Makayla Hollins, a junior who moved to Lejeune from Virginia where she played two years of high school tennis.
Lejeune’s #4 through #6 players are all new to tennis. Senior Ashley Tagel and sophomores Grace Gillen and Katelyn Ullrich-Rojas fill out the Lejeune roster which lost five seniors from last year’s 9-2 team.
In the Lejeune’s opening match versus Greene Central, the Devil Pups’ lone win came from Lee at the #1 spot with a 6-1, 6-2 victory.
In the team’s second match against Swansboro on Aug. 30, Lee won her singles match at #1 in straight sets as Hollins won a third set tiebreak at #3, but the Devil Pups fell to the Pirates 6-3. Lejeune’s third point came from Lee and Tagel who teamed up for an 8-4 win at #2 doubles.
Lejeune will host Southwest Onslow on Sept. 10 at 3:30 p.m.
9/5 vs. Richlands
9/10 vs. Southwest
9/12 @ E. Carteret
9/17 @ Dixon
9/19 @ Croatan
9/24 @ Richlands
9/26 vs. Southwest
10/1 vs. E. Carteret
10/3 vs. Dixon
10/8 @ Conf. Tourn.
Start times: 3:30 p.m.