SCC tennis ends run at state; Coach says team performed well with limited practice

Published 12:01 am Saturday, May 5, 2018

MONROE — Faced with tough match-ups against skillful players, St. Charles Catholic High School tennis team members came up short in the first round of the LHSAA state tournament last month in Monroe.

Comets head coach Ron Terrio doesn’t see the results as discouraging.

The Comets didn’t dominate the season, but Terrio said the team slowly snuck around the corner, steadily improving with each serve and swing of a racquet.

Experience was the biggest roadblock, according to Terrio. Of the 19 players on the team, most were beginners with only a few months of practice on a tennis court.

With even second- and third-year athletes only sharpening skills a few months out of the year, Terrio said qualifying for state was an achievement in itself.

“You’re playing against kids who have been practicing all year-round, and we’ve just been practicing during the season,” Terrio said. “It’s hard to come out on top against teams like that, but we can definitely hit with them.”

In order to qualify for state competition, all girls and boys competing in doubles had to win a match at regionals, held at the UNO Lakefront Arena.

A smaller pool of competition at regionals meant all boys competing in singles advanced, regardless of wins or losses.

Senior Claude Hill III advanced to state for the third year in a row and competed in singles. During the tournament, Hill received the All State Academic Award for maintaining a 4.0 GPA all four years of high school.

It was no surprise when junior Robert Newsome advanced to state for the second time to compete in singles, according to Terrio. Even without the free pass from regionals, the team expected him to compete.

Senior Kassidy Terrio, sophomore Arjun Iyer and freshman Ishaan Iyer traveled to state for the first time to compete in doubles.

Terrio said all state competitors showed strength in the face of a tough draw, with many battling against opponents who advanced to the semifinal and championship rounds.

Shana Breaux also had a strong year, and Terrio said she and Kassidy came out on top more than once despite being underdogs.

“We didn’t beat too many teams this year, but everybody got better, and we plan on keeping it going through the summer for the first time,” Terrio said.

“We have a good group of kids. They learn quick and put their best foot forward. For the time they put in, they really did a good job.”

Terrio said the Comets hit twice the amount of balls under the guidance of assistant coach Ken Massett, who provided needed structure to the program.