Springwood tennis finishes regular season 9-1

Published 10:00 pm Friday, March 22, 2019

LANETT — The Springwood tennis team (9-1, 5-1) is in a position to play in the state tournament at Lagoon Park in Montgomery on April 8-9. 

The top four teams from East Alabama and the top four teams from West Alabama face each other in the tournament.

“The team compliments each other well,” Springwood head tennis coach Jim Phillips said. “Almost all of the girls have stepped up when they needed to win a particular line in order for us to get a team win. There’s been a couple of close matches, and the girls have picked up the other girls by winning the deciding lines to get a team win.”

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All of Springwood’s one through seven players have experience with the Wildcats before. The team is led by junior Ashton Westbrook.

“We’re pretty good,” Westbrook said. “We’re a tough team to beat. All of our spots one through seven is good. We don’t really have a weak link.”

Westbrook’s dominance comes in her forehand, and Phillips said that she has the same amount of power that many of boys who have previously played for Springwood hit with. 

“She has really good strokes,” Phillips said of Westbrook. “She controls the ball well.”

Westbrook and the rest of Springwood’s top three players in the lineup have a tough task of facing the other top experienced players throughout the state, but Phillips is confident of his top trio.

“They’ve got it tough, but they’ve been up for the task,” Phillips said. “They have pulled off some really impressive wins against some impressive players … It will be fun. I hope the girls bring their A-game because they’re going to be playing the best girls in the state of Alabama from our association.”

Springwood is projected to be one of the top two teams to come out of East Alabama with Glenwood, the Wildcats’ lone loss this season. Awaiting Glenwood and Springwood in West Alabama are historically talented teams at Morgan Academy and Tuscaloosa Academy.

Last year, Springwood seniors Ananth Reddy and Wyatt Albertson took home AISA No. 1 and No. 2 state singles titles. Westbrook said that witnessing the journeys to the championship made her aware of where the current group needed improvement.

“We’re going to have to play harder than we have been,” she said. “We lost to Glenwood and we have to play harder because we’ll probably have to play them again at state. We can’t let them get in our heads, that’s why we lost. We lost points at the top, and everyone else thought since we lost that they were going to lose, too. We can’t do that next time.”