Danville girls tennis opens season with 4-1 record

Published 9:30 am Monday, April 9, 2018

Danville girls’ tennis coach Ryan Adams said his current team is the “most talented” he’s ever coached.

The Admirals are producing results early in the season with a 4-1 record.

“I couldn’t be more proud of this team and how we’ve started the season,” head coach Ryan Adams said. “We’ve had some rough seasons recently but to start 4-1 is incredible in this region. The success we’ve had is credited to our upperclassmen and their commitment to the sport. We’ve got a really strong core of about 6-8 young ladies who are athletic and focused on tennis. I wish I could take credit for their success but I’ve been lucky to amass a team of great young ladies who love the game. I consider myself very blessed to coach this team. It is my most talented team since coaching for the Admirals.”

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Danville’s had a strong start but will face some of the toughest 12th Region opponents this month: East Jessamine, Boyle County and Casey County are all still to come.

“I love coaching in this region because of the great talent and tremendous coaching,” Adams said. “It’s very competitive which is surprising with a region with such a strong tradition in basketball and football. We’ve got some good wins over teams like West Jessamine which has been great due to the rough start to the season thanks to the weather … We’ve got Casey, Mercer, East Jessamine and Boyle all after spring break. Most years I’m dreading that part of our schedule, but with this team, I’m excited to see what they can do. I think our top six-to-eight players stack up against anyone else’s in the region.”

The top two for the Admirals have experience — seniors Elizabeth Joiner and Annabelle Graves, and both have had shining starts to the season.

“I knew going into the year that my top two seniors with Elizabeth and Annabelle would be playing well,” Adams said. “They’re the anchors and leaders on this team and I’m so lucky to have incredibly hard workers in them that set the pace for everyone else.”

After the seniors, Eleanor Grubbs and Grace Crawford have stepped up as the No. 1 doubles team for the Admirals. But twins Lara and Jenna Akers aren’t far behind, the coach said.

“Eleanor and Grace having gotten off to such a solid start in doubles not losing a match yet. They’ve got a great chemistry on the court,” Adams said. “By far, my most unexpected play has come from the Akers twins, Jenna and Lara. I wasn’t sure if they were going to play this year because they’re into soccer and basketball but I was lucky enough to get them on the courts and they have both just been so natural with a racket in their hands. Their competitive nature has really helped them be a valuable asset to the team this year.”

With more talent than he’s ever coached, Adams said it’s been exciting to see his team push each other in practice.

“Just like any sport, you’ve got players competition for court time,” he said. “I want my players to be competitive and fight for seeds because that’s what will push them in practice and in matches. My goal as, a coach, is to have everyone on the court each match. That doesn’t always happen but that feels like a success when it does. It’s so important for my doubles teams to have good chemistry because they’ve got to communicate effectively on the court. It’s similar to a marriage where you’ve got to almost know what the other will do and how they will react. That’s what makes for a good doubles team and that’s what we’ve got with Eleanor and Grace.”

The Admirals’ regular season ends at the end of the month, and Adams said he’s excited to see what his team can do on and off the court this season.

I couldn’t ask for a better group of young ladies to coach,” he said. “They all are extremely focused on their class work and motivated to achieve in all areas of their lives. I feel blessed to get to mold this amazing group of young ladies for a couple months on the court. We’ll have some great success on the court this year, but each one of these girls is so well rounded in what they do off the court and the character that they possess.”