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Valley tennis continues sizzling start

VALLEY — The Valley High School tennis teams bolted out of the gates to start the 2018 season.

They have yet to slow down.

One month into the spring campaign, the Rams boys and girls boast a combined 13-5 record. The boys are 7-2, and the girls are 6-3.

Their success comes even with a roster that is relatively young and inexperienced.

“We have so many new players on the team, and so many of them are actually first-year players,” head coach Eric Creel-Flores said, “so it gives me a lot of hope for next year.”

In the past week, the Valley boys have earned four consecutive victories. The Rams beat Sylacauga, 5-4, on March 2, before posting back-to-back sweeps on March 3.

Valley cruised past Holtville and Dadeville by the same lopsided margin, 9-0.

The Rams then defeated Smiths Station on Monday, 5-4.

Creel-Flores lauded the recent performances of first-year players Caden Prather and Art Hamby, who compete at the fifth and sixth positions in Valley’s lineup. 

“Caden Prather gets a lot of praise from other coaches because his form is so beautiful and so technical,” Creel-Flores said. “He looks like a seasoned player.”

Hamby played golf before switching to tennis. Creel-Flores credits Hamby’s pure athleticism for allowing him to make the transition.

“With pure effort and determination, he just got into the top six,” Creel-Flores said.

The Valley boys are led in the top four playing positions by Michael Pigg, Jase Phillips, Alex Hernandez and Nicholas Shaver.

Devin McGlon, meanwhile, is the unquestioned torchbearer for the Valley girls, who have won two of their last four matches. McGlon, a junior, entered the 2018 season as the team’s lone returner.

“She’s just leading the team, not only on the court but off the court,” Creel-Flores said. “She’s just one of those that the whole team goes to whenever they need any kind of advice as far as their playing, their performance.”

In the past week, the Valley girls fell to Sylacauga, 5-4, and Smiths Station, 7-2. But they notched commanding victories on March 3 against Holtville, 9-0, and Dadeville, 8-1.

The Valley girls and boys had their matches against LAMP canceled on Tuesday due to inclement weather.

The boys will return to action on Thursday at Wetumpka.

Both teams will then host Callaway on Monday at the Valley Sportsplex tennis courts.