Boyle tennis teams take aim at regional titles

Published 3:06 pm Friday, May 13, 2022

Is two regional titles too much to ask for Boyle County tennis?

Boyle got one championship a year ago when its girls team won the 12th Region for the first time in four years. Now both the boys and girls teams will be taking aim at the top.

The Boyle girls are a known quantity with almost everyone returning from last year’s championship team, and they will be the favorite when the 12th Region Tournament begins next week in Danville.

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The Boyle boys are led by three seniors who were part of last year’s regional runner-up team, and they will be among the regional contenders.

“This is our year to try to win a championship (with the boys),” Boyle coach Tao Costello said. “And then for the girls, I’m looking to continue where we left off last year and to the next year coming up with the same group.”

It has been a very good season for both Boyle teams:

The girls improved to 22-1 with victories over Lincoln County on Monday and Elizabethtown on Tuesday. They were undefeated until Saturday, when they lost to Lexington Catholic in the finals of their sectional team tournament, and they are undefeated against 12th Region teams.

The boys fell to 16-5 with a loss to E-Town on Tuesday. They lost to defending 12th Region champion Casey County in their season opener, but that was their only loss in regional competition, which concluded with a win over Lincoln on Monday.

“We’ve got all our players healthy and they’re playing their best tennis, so I’m very excited to go into regionals and see how many we can get qualified for the state tournament,” he said.

The Boyle girls have won team titles in three of the past five seasons. The Boyle boys have been runners-up in each of the past two seasons after winning in 2018.

Both teams are stocked with veterans this year, as many of the players have been with the program since middle school.

The girls program is led by a strong junior class that includes both players on its No. 1 doubles team, Maggie Cerqueira and Edie Clark, who were regional runners-up last year; and its No. 1 singles player, Jaina Burkett, who was a regional semifinalist.

“We’ve got all our starters back pretty much next year who won the region last year as sophomores,” Costello said.

Boyle lost only one senior last year and has only one this year, and three sophomores are part of its lineup.

Matthew Da Costa, a regional semifinalist a year ago, returns at No. 1 singles for the Boyle boys, and senior Colin Green has teamed with sophomore Mason Young for a new No. 1 doubles team.

“We were runners-up last year, and we’re going to go for it again. Next year we’ll have to try to replace those seniors, so this is the year for the boys team to see what they can do,” Costello said.

Casey will again be the team to beat in the boys team competition, Costello said. The Casey girls might well pose the greatest threat to the Boyle girls, who edged Casey 3-2 in both of their meetings this season.

“I feel pretty good with the lineup that I’ve got right now,” Costello said. “We’re pretty deep, we’re good in singles and we’re good in doubles, too.”

Both of last year’s regional champion doubles teams returned intact. Fifth-year seniors Jenna Akers and Lara Akers of Danville have won the last three girls doubles titles, and juniors Gunner Floyd and Ethan Willoughby of Casey are shooting for their second straight boys doubles title.

West Jessamine senior Jacob Senters is the defending boys singles champion; the 2021 girls singles champion and runner-up graduated.

The regional tournament begins with girls first-round matches Monday and boys first-round matches Tuesday. Play continues through Thursday, then resumes with semifinal matches May 23 and the finals May 24.

Matches will be played at Centre College and John W. Bate Middle School.