West Henderson beats Wolverine tennis 9-0

Published 9:26 pm Thursday, September 3, 2015

“Tennis is a sport that has changed so drastically in the last 20 years,” observed Polk County High School tennis coach Richard Davis.


At Polk, few families can afford to spend the time and money to give their children expensive lessons from the age of four or five. Similarly, many student-athletes at Polk compete in two or more sports per school year, and can’t focus on tennis.

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While the occasional player comes along who can focus on the sport, Davis’s teams are often composed of players with lots of grit, but whose experience amounts to on-the-job training and incremental improvement.


Such was the case on Tuesday, Sept. 1, when West Henderson came to Columbus, and blanked the Wolverines, 9-0.


West Henderson’s number one player is Savannah Smith, who was matched against Polk’s number one, Rhian Alley.


Alley is a fine soccer player, and fought Smith gamely. Davis noted that Savannah Smith “is to tennis what Rhian is to soccer.”


We’re not a ‘tennis is everything’ school,” Davis continued. “We don’t have any dedicated tennis players this season.” Although, Davis added, he has enjoyed coaching a few in his career.


Davis, who had to scrape and scrounge to field a women’s team last fall, at least has the makings of a team that can win here and there.


Recently, he lost his number three player to a broken wrist, and had to bump an extra player to the number six spot, and move his six, five and four players up a notch each to fill in.


Davis admits that the loss of his number three player did not make a huge difference in his team, but with her in action, he “would have kept the girls where they need to be,” that is, able to compete against more closely-matched opponents.


“We’ve just got to keep on battling,” Davis said. “We are definitely a far better team now than we were a few weeks ago. Right now, we have a good group. I have no doubt that they’re giving the best they can give.”

Rhian Alley

Rhian Alley


Yesterday, Polk hosted Avery County. Results were not available at press time. On Sept. 9, they host T.C. Roberson.


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