By Hank Minckiewicz
The top of Anderson tennis coach Ryan Furkas’s lineup is strong. The bottom? Full of question marks.
The Titans, who were so looking forward to the 2020 season, were bitterly disappointed when the campaign was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the potential leaders from that team are gone now, but several remain and the Southgate squad hopes to build a successful season around them.
“Our top six is really strong,” admitted Furkas.
The Titans four singles players – three seniors and a junior – have a combined 13 varsity season under their belts and are more than ready to do battle against the best the Downriver League has to offer.
It starts at the top with No. 1 player Ava Peryam, a four-year player.
“Ava has been groomed for this,” said Furkas. “She would have been our No. 2 last year and now she’s here as our No, 1.
“I can’t say enough about her. She has worked hard to take her strong game and make it even better. She’s also really stepped up and taken a real leadership role on the team.”
In fact, all the top Titan players have done that, according to Furkas.
“They have been unbelievable,” he said. “They are serious about the game and they show it to the rest of the girls. We have two coaches, but it’s like having six more assistant coaches on the courts.”
Joining Peryam in singles are three-year senior Abbey Nea at No. 2, three-year junior Jessica Edwards at No. 3 and three-year senior Leslie Maloney at No. 4.
Anderson’s No. 1 doubles team is strong, too, with fellow three-year seniors Brianna Bumgardner and Audrey Edwards teaming up at that spot.
Junior Danica McCoy will play No. 2 doubles, likely with sophomore Kejsy Sulaj as a partner, but the situation is fluid.
Juniors McKenna Freitas and Alexis Pomponio, sophomore Myrisa Thacker and freshmen Maya Freitas and Emily Parkham all are looking to secure time as varsity doubles players.
The Titan opened the 2021 campaign in style, whipping Riverview 6-2 and beating Taylor 7-1 in the Downriver League opener.
In the season-opener against Riverview, Peryan won a three-set battle, while Neal, Jessica Edwards and Maloney cruised in straight sets, losing just two games between them.
In doubles, Bumgardner and Audrey Edwards won as did McCoy and Sulaj.
Against Taylor, the Titans cruised, losing only at No. 3 doubles.