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Boys' tennis competitive despite early season struggles

The green ball rocketed across the net. As the volley returned, the student watched in horror as the ball flew directly toward the coach’s face!

“I got a nice forehand during a practice volley drill and I hit it straight into coach’s face,” Eric Neufeld, ’05, said. “The ball left a huge red mark. He ended practice ten minutes later.”

Even though past blunders can leave negative impressions, the satisfaction found on the courts and progress made in playing skills seem to lure players back year after year.

“I play tennis every year because of the great atmosphere and in order to improve my game,” Neufeld said. “I also enjoy reminiscing about previous seasons with Mr. [Eric] Witters [’04].”

Experiences on the courts bring encouragement to those who have great ambitions.

“I’m really looking forward to playing again this year,” Collin Tally, ’04, said. “It would be awesome if we could win league again. I think we are at about the same playing level as we were last year so we might have a good chance.”

The stimulation of competition is a common reason for many players to return to the team.

“I love playing tennis because the game never gets old and it’s testy,” Neufeld said. “I have been playing for three and a half years, but I can improve every time I play.”

Returning students are not the only participants this season. New players also joined the team.

“I played a little tennis at my old school,” Corey Maxey, ’06, said. “I enjoyed it very much, and I really wanted to play at Fresno Christian. I’m looking forward to playing as much as possible and having a lot of fun too.”

While perservering students may play tennis each season in high school, future college plans may prevent tennis playing after graduation.

“I really don’t know if I’ll play next year in college,” Tally said. “My plans are to go to Fresno City and become a firefighter.”

Whether or not students plan to pursue tennis in college does not deter tennis coach Rod Atchley from returning to the courts to teach.

“I wanted to coach this year for a number of reasons,” Atchley said. “I wanted the seniors to have a good last year, but I’ve also noticed that interest in tennis has dropped over the past few years. I think the program needs to be built up more.”

Encouragement from the coach adds to a player’s passion for the game.

“He [Atchley] takes the game seriously which in turn helps us in the long run,” Neufeld said. “We respect him a lot because of his enthusiasm. It also makes it easier to respect him because we’ve had him in class [chemistry and biology] already. “”

Boys’ tennis will be playing next at Fowler on Mar. 18 at 3:30 P.M.

For more information on sports events or games, go online to www.fresnochristian.com, scroll to the classrooms icon and click on HS Daily News. Or, read the announcements at www.thefeather.com.” “Brianna Stobbe, Photographer” “During practice after school, Collin Tally, ’04, returns a volley from coach Rod Atchley. Tennis plays at Fowler on Mar. 18.” “Brianna Stobbe, Photographer” “With new coach Rod Atchley, rear right, demonstrating a correct volley, the boys’ tennis team note his techninque on Mar. 17 during practice.” “Insert text here

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