CHAPMANVILLE — The Chapmanville Regional High School tennis team is on the verge of making school history, perhaps more than once in the coming week, as they continued their blistering pace to the season by knocking off Sissonville, Huntington St. Joseph, and Mingo Central this past week.
The Lady Tigers tennis team currently sits at 13-2, one win shy of setting a new school record in a season, and with a win against Poca on Tuesday could become the first Chapmanville team in school history to defeat all of their regional opponents in one season.
Both clubs are also setting their sights on this Friday’s Cardinal Conference tournament, which will be held at Chapmanville Regional High School and Scott High School.
The Tigers have never won their conference tournament before but will go in as the heavy favorites on the girl’s side, while the boys will battle it out with several strong teams, but go in, along with Scott, as the co-favorites.
“We had another really good week against some good teams,” Chapmanville tennis coach Don Saunders said. “We were able to keep our momentum going and played very well. I think we’ve got a great chance to win the Cardinal Conference in a lot of our positions this week. It’s going to be a tough tournament, but I think our kids are ready. They’ve had a successful season and it would be great to see us perform well in the tournament.”
Assistant coach Geoff Saunders said the team is starting to peak at the right time.
“We’ve been playing well all year,” he said. “But I think we’re playing some of our best tennis right now. The girls were able to get a win over one of the two teams that beat them this season, the boys had a big week winning all three of their matches and looked strong doing it too. I’m excited for them. I think they can win the Cardinal Conference this week as long as we keep doing the right things and playing at the level we’ve been at this past week.”
Chapmanville Middle School head coach and CRHS assistant coach Chris Kidd said the goals of this team keep getting bigger and bigger with each win.
“Coming into the year saying we wanted to break the school record may have been a big goal to have considering we are starting four freshman and four sophomores,” Kidd said. “But going back to middle school this group had tremendous success. This is the same group of girls that went 31-5 in a three year stretch and the boys were 23-13, so I knew we were going to be successful, but to do it this quick and to accomplish so much is staggering. But now the goal for us is to not be satisfied and I don’t think we are. These kids have had a focus and determination I’ve not seen before. They want these records, they want to be the first to win the Cardinal Conference title, and they want to win the region as well. And if we keep up this level of play I think we can do it.”
Against Sissonville, the girls won 7-0 and received wins in singles by No. 1 seed Haley Justice 8-2, No. 2 seed Sravya Pidaparthi 8-5, No. 3 seed Lasya Pidaparthi 8-0, and No. 4 seed Myla Bryant 8-0. The Tigers girls’ team also swept the Indians in doubles as the Pidaparthi sisters won 8-1, Justice and Cassidy Lewis were victorious 8-0, and Bryant and Sara Lambert won 8-0.
On the boys side, the Tigers won 3-0 over Sissonville as No. 1 seed Max Spradlin won his singles match 8-4, while No. 2 seed Colton Townsend also prevailed by an 8-0 score. Spradlin and Townsend also won handily in doubles 8-0.
“This was a nice win,” Geoff Saunders said. “We were worried we wouldn’t get the match in because of the rain that was coming in and out of the area, but the kids kept their focus and did a great job. We had to fit Sissonville in at the last minute on our schedule, so it was a big regional and road win. It will really help our seeding come regional time.”
The Chapmanville boys won 5-2 this week over Huntington St. Joe, getting wins in singles from No. 2 seed Colton Townsend 9-7, No. 3 seed Brycen Kuenzel 8-0, and No. 4 seed Donovan Abraham 8-2. In doubles the team of Kuenzel and Dakota Saunders won 8-2, while Abraham and Austin Evans prevailed 8-3.
The Chapmanville girls avenged one of their two losses this year by beating St. Joe 4-3. In singles, No. 1 seed Haley Justice picked up an 8-4 win, and No. 4 seed Myla Bryant scored an 8-0 victory. In doubles Justice and Cassidy Lewis cruised to an 8-0 win, and Bryant and Sara Lambert outlasted their opponents with an 8-5 win.
“The biggest win we’ve had this year is Charleston Catholic, more or less because of the massive success that team has had,” Kidd said. “But I think this was our biggest team win. We played so tough against a really good St. Joe team. All of these matches were battles and we picked up wins we didn’t get against them the first time. Colton showed a lot of guts in beating his kid. That was the best match I’ve seen him play all year. And then for the girls to respond after getting beat by them 5-2 earlier in the year was a huge confidence boost. The only doubles team Sara and Myla lost to all year they came back to beat 8-5, Myla got revenge in her singles match after losing earlier this year too. And you add in Cassidy, who has played amazing in doubles, I can’t say enough about these freshman girls. Coming into the toughest region and playing like this from day one is unbelievable.
“And Haley Justice has been lights out this year. She has grown up so much in her game it’s just great to watch her play. Beating her opponent 8-4 after she lost to her 8-4 earlier this year was one of the most impressive matches I’ve seen her play. She’s come on strong these past few weeks and is a great leader on this team. I couldn’t be more proud of her or this team.”
Against Mingo Central this week, the Tigers girls’ team won 6-1, and picked up singles wins from No. 1 seed Haley Justice 8-0, No. 3 seed Lasya Pidaparthi 8-0, and No. 4 seed Myla Bryant 8-1, while in doubles Sravya Pidaparthi and Lasya Pidaparthi won 8-3, Justice and Cassidy Lewis prevailed 8-1, and Bryant and Sara Lambert cruised to an 8-1 win.
On the boys side, Chapmanville also won 6-1 over Mingo Central, as they received wins in singles from No. 1 seed Max Spradlin 8-5, No. 3 seed Brycen Kuenzel 8-3, and No. 4 seed Donovan Abraham 9-7. In doubles, Spradlin and Colton Townsend won 8-4, Kuenzel and Dakota Saunders were 8-3 winners, and the team of Abraham and Austin Evans were victorious 8-2.
“Mingo Central has done a really good job of building up their program these past few years,” Don Saunders said. “This was a tough match to get through and they really pushed us. I think they’ll be just as difficult as anybody to beat in the Cardinal Conference tournament and the regional tournament. But I like having these matches because it keeps our intensity up, and we’ll have to bring our best game each match if we want to win the Cardinal Conference this week.”
The Tigers get back into action on Monday as they host reigning state champion Charleston Catholic at 4 p.m.
Then on Tuesday Chapmanville travels to Poca for their regular season finale at 4 p.m.
The Cardinal Conference tournament will begin Friday at Chapmanville Regional High School for the boys, and Scott High School for the girls at 3 p.m.