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Valley High tennis off to hot start

VALLEY —  The Valley High School tennis teams have started their 2018 campaigns on the right foot.

The girls, led by junior Devin McGlon, are 4-0. The Valley boys, paced by seniors Michael Pigg and Jase Phillips, are 3-1.

“The team as a whole has really come together this year more so than any other year,” head coach Eric Creel said. “They really communicate with each other in practice and outside of practice.”

The girls team opened its season on Feb. 6 with a 9-0 victory over Wetumpka. Two days later, the Rams rallied from a two-match deficit to secure a 5-4 win at Shelby County. They have since picked up wins against Troup County and Callaway.

The team’s hot start has come amid a wave of turnover, as McGlon is the only returning player from last year’s squad.

Newcomers Kathryn Dewberry, Madeline McCoy and Madison Melton have helped fill the gaps.

“Now that we’re heading up to our strong opponents, the way to continue winning is just keeping it calm and not getting ahead of themselves,” Creel said.

The boys team dropped its season opener at Wetumpka, 8-1, but has since captured three straight triumphs over Shelby County, Troup County and Callaway. Pigg and Phillips have set the tone for the Rams with their experience and skill.

“Both of them have gone from being at the very bottom of the totem pole to now being my number one and number two,” Creel said.

Behind them, juniors Alex Hernandez and Nicholas Shaver play at the third and fourth positions. Caden Prather and James Hamby round out the Rams’ top six.

“They have a lot of potential,” Creel said of the group. “The main key for them is to settle nerves.”

The Valley tennis teams will return to action on Tuesday at Trinity Presbyterian in Montgomery.

The Rams will then host Jemison on Thursday at the Valley Sportsplex tennis courts.