NRHS girls take tennis title

Published 6:47 pm Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Nansemond River High School girls’ tennis team beat Kecoughtan 8-1 on Thursday to clinch the Pensouth Conference title.

This is actually the Lady Warriors’ third conference championship in a row, but because they moved up in classification last year, this is their first Pensouth title.

Coach James Riley said this is one of the best teams he’s coached during his six years at NRHS.

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“We finished 14-1 during the regular season, and I said to them, ‘Congratulations, we just won our third conference championship in a row, but we still have to continue the season,’” he said Saturday.

The Lady Warriors will follow up this victory with regional play against Hickory High School at Nansemond River. Hickory has been a measuring stick for this team. Last year Hickory, beat Nansemond River, but this year the Lady Warriors got their revenge.

“Before this, we had never beaten Hickory in school history” Riley said. “But this season the girls were focused and we beat Hickory 9-0.”

Nansemond River has a solid team, with Erin Bonney, Zion McCoy, Hannah Ramey, MacKenzie Roach, Ariana Samuel and Cyndey Folsom. None of these girls are seniors, which makes Riley excited about next season, as well.

“I feel like for next season we could honestly go undefeated in the regular season,” he said.

When the team moved up to 5A, Riley wasn’t sure what to expect. He said he is a bit surprised at how smoothly conference play has been for his team. He assumed the teams would be more challenging because of the bigger schools. But he also had higher expectations for his own team.

Having won the Ironclad conference twice, Nansemond River’s Pensouth conference title is a testament to the quality of its team.

“We had a very talented team this year,” Riley said. “I had high expectations for all of them.”

Standing out as for her competitiveness, Erin Bonney went undefeated — 72-0 for the season. She and her team were unaware of her achievement until after her match on Thursday.

“That was the biggest announcement at Kecoughtan,” Riley said. S”Se is definitely one of the best players I’ve ever coached.”

The Lady Warriors hope to knock off Hickory High School on Wednesday at home in the first round of the regional tournament.