In his 16th season of coaching high school tennis, Blanchester girls tennis coach Matt Sexton knows each season must stand on its own laurels. The past is gone and the future is a journey of the unknown.
So despite having won seven straight SBAAC National Division championships – and 9 of the last 10 – Sexton said his squad is not the top team going in to the season.
“Felicity should be the team to beat,” said Sexton, who has been at BHS for 13 years. “They have one of the best first singles players in the division and should have the depth to be hard to handle up and down the lineup. Don’t overlook CNE, though.”
As for his own Ladycats, Sexton is as uncertain as he’s ever been going in to a season.
“I really don’t know what to expect this season, but I want the girls to have fun and give their best effort,” said Sexton, who is assisted by his brother Michael. “You don’t get any head start because of what has happened in the past. Each year must be judged on its own. The only thing they need to worry about is getting better every day. I think we’ll be a handful by the end of the season.”
The Ladycats were 9-5 last year, which includes a 7-1 mark in the National Division. BHS is 105-77 in Sexton’s 13 season, which includes a 70-29 record against division rivals.
Kayla Allen was a second team All-SBAAC player from last season and one of four players on the team with any varsity experience.
That’s not surprising when you consider BHS lost four first team All-SBAAC players via graduation – Erin Wilson at first singles, Lilly Tedrick at second singles, Alexis Vestal at first doubles and Korie White at first doubles. Grace King was a second team All-SBAAC player who moved out of the Blanchester school district.
There are nine newcomers to the BHS roster, giving Sexton the flexibility to juggle his lineup to find the right fit.
“I like the attitude and effort of the girls in practice,” said Sexton. “This may be one of the most coachable groups we’ve ever had, which is good because we are lacking in match experience.”