Serious play pays off

Published 9:30 am Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Randolph-Henry High School’s varsity girls tennis team is off to a characteristically dominant start even though it has new leaders on and off the court.

Coaches Lindsay Webb and Shannon Feinman retired from their leadership roles in the program after last season. They established a proud legacy of great success with the Lady Statesmen.

Last year, Randolph-Henry finished as Quad Rivers Conference 34 and James River District champions.

Graduating afterward were the team’s top two players — Meredith Feinman and Couper Webb. Feinman was the conference singles champion, conference Player of the Year, and she and Webb combined to form the conference Doubles Team of the Year.

The Lady Statesmen have some key returners this year, though, including freshman Grace Algeier, sophomore Eliza Walker and senior Annie Sandridge.

Taking over as head coach is Deborah Laine, who had a storied run at Randolph-Henry as head coach of the varsity softball team.

Laine noted the 2018 varsity Lady Statesmen tennis team features four freshmen, two juniors, two sophomores and one senior.

“We also have two middle school players that practice with us but are not yet eligible for play,” she said.

Entering Tuesday’s home match against Goochland High School, Randolph-Henry held a 4-2 record. Its two losses were both to Halifax County High School, and its wins came with 9-0 scores, twice against Appomattox County High School, once against Altavista Combined School and once against William Campbell High School.

Six matches in, Laine said she is quite excited about her players’ work and practice ethic.

“They take their play very seriously, and so far it has definitely paid off,” she said.

Laine noted she feels the team should do well in district play.

The team’s captains are Sandridge, junior McKenzie Sharpe and Algeier.

In singles play, “Annie is the No. 3 seed and brings unity and leadership to the team,” Laine said. “McKenzie is the No. 4 seed and brings a real sense of  teamwork and dedication to her team. No. 1 seed Grace Algeier is full of spunk and serves as a real spark plug for the team.”

R-H visits William Campbell on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.