by Becky Kimbrell-Norris
ROLESVILLE — Rolesville High School tennis coach Jeannie Pastorius and her players know more wins will come.
The Rams have recorded two victories in their inaugural season, both against Greater Neuse River Conference opponent, Southeast Raleigh.
All of the girls on the Rolesville tennis roster are freshmen, playing at the varsity level and are competing against more experienced and older players. Not one of the Rams brought any tennis experience to their school’s first ever team.
In both meetings with Southeast Raleigh, the Rams won by matching 6-3 scores.
“It was so exciting and a great experience for the girls to see that they can win,” Pastorius said, “and we are not at the bottom of the conference.”
“The wins also provide goals as well for next season,” she added.
In the last victory two weeks ago against Southeast Raleigh the Rams won four singles and two doubles matches.
Nikoro Uzoho plays No. 1 singles for Rolesville and she won her match 6-1, 6-3. Playing at the No. 2 spot is Emily Parker, who was a 6-2, 6-4 winner against her Southeast Raleigh opponent.
Savonna Hill, at No. 3 singles, won by a score of 7-5 and 6-1 while teammate Oluchi Chukwunyere, playing No. 4 singles, was a 6-3, 6-0 winner.
In the No. 1 doubles, Parker and Uzoho paired and captured a victory while the team of Morgan Thomas and Chukwunyere were also winners at the No. 2 doubles.
What the Rams are focused on for the time being, however; is building an athletic program that will compete for championships down the road.
At this point in the Rams inaugural season, Pastorius said her team is making strides toward that long term goal, despite their youth and inexperience.
“We are actually beyond of where I thought they might be,” she said. “I don’t know that it’s typical to have a startup team even garner a win in their first season.”
Pastorius admits that starting a team from scratch has been a challenge but she continues to see a lot of growth every day from her team.
“There has been much growth from day one, in terms of confidence, scorekeeping and calling, the ability to score and how to manage a match, and tiebreakers,” she said.
“It’s been hard but I’m already excited for 2014,” she added. “We’ll have a great base of girls and growth on our side. I am also going to encourage the girls to play in the offseason.”
Pastorius said she also expects the number of interested girls will increase next season.
“I had to turn a few girls away after school started; they simply came too late,” she added.
While team commitment and mutual support are the biggest improvements Pastorius would like to see from her team, she likes her players’ enthusiasm.
“I think playing Southeast Raleigh early in the season and then late was kind of cool because instead of their experiencing loss after loss, the girls were looking forward to a match where they felt they would have more control,” she said.
Now that the Rams are closing in on the season’s end, Pastorius said she is directing her team’s focus to the conference tournament.
“Everybody plays and advancement is based on winning from one match to the next and while that may not happen, the conference atmosphere is unique, exciting and fun,” she said.
“We just want to stay motivated and to represent Rolesville High School well in the Greater Neuse River Conference tournament,” she added.