The Transylvania Times -

By Jeremiah Reed
Sports Editor 

Blue Devils Look To Capitalize On Potential In 2016 – Brevard NC

 

The 2016 Brevard High School girls' tennis team. (Times photo by Jeremiah Reed)

After a strong season in 2015 that included a third place conference finish and an individual conference champion, the Brevard Lady Blue Devil tennis team returns all of its roster, as well as some new talent, for 2016.

The team also welcomes a new head coach, as Lindsay Altizer takes over the girls' tennis program.

Altizer has roots to the Brevard tennis community, as she was previously the top women's player for Brevard College, where she graduated in 2010.

Originally from Perrysburg, Ohio, Altizer made the South Atlantic all-conference first team three times during her Tornado career.

She's served as a tennis instructor in the past, but Brevard is her first coaching job.

"I'm really excited and I couldn't ask for a better team to start with," she said of her new role. "Everybody has been really welcoming and the girls have been working hard."

Altizer couldn't have asked to inherit a better team as the Lady Blue Devils return all their starters from last season when they finished third in the WNC Athletic Conference at 8-6.

Aly Henneberry won the 2A singles conference title as a sophomore and is expected to be Brevard's top singles player in her junior year.

Delaney Holland and Hannah Stansel also return for Brevard one year after playing in the top half of singles play and finishing second in the conference doubles tournament.

Other returning players include Loren Smith, Meredith Hooper, Samantha Baughman and Bailey Shuler.

Shuler was one of Brevard's top players last year, but struggled with nagging injuries all season.

So far, Altizer said she likes what she's seen from her players.

"I thought their energy was really positive and their work ethic has been strong," she said when asked about her first impressions of the team. "They're very talented, so it's going to be easy to work with them and I'll be able to coach more than instruct, which is exciting."

The Lady Blue Devils will have a bit more depth this season than they did in 2015, as this year's squad features 11 members – including three seniors and four juniors.

Altizer said having larger numbers is an asset, as younger players are able to practice and learn against older girls.

"I like that we're able to develop everybody. I think some of the older girls will be able to help the younger girls come into their own and it will be nice to continue the program with a bigger roster," Altizer said.

Having depth and experience among top players also means Altizer will be able to focus on match strategy and not spend so much time working on individual instruction.

"One thing I bring to the table is, having played college tennis, I have that competitive character and I know how to compete to the best of your ability in tennis," she said. "So I'm going to look to work on strategy and mixing things up."

Last year, West Henderson and Smoky Mountain were the only conference teams that Brevard didn't pick up a win against.

Altizer said she doesn't have much familiarity with the WNCAC, but doesn't see that as a negative.

Instead, she likes the idea of having a fresh approach to each match and is looking forward to seeing her team play to their potential each time they're on the court.

"I'm coming in with a blank slate. Every team I come across, I don't know any of the players. So we get to come into every match with the same energy. I don't know which teams are weak or which teams are strong, so we're going to play every team the same," she said.

 
 

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