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High school tennis notepad: Veteran Bears need to stay focused

Riverbend girls tennis coach Cindy Edwards looks at having a steady group of seniors as a blessing.

But Edwards said it could also potentially be troublesome down the road.

The Bears (10–0) are off to a perfect start this season. They haven’t lost a singles match, and they’ve dropped just one doubles contest.

But with seniors as four of her top six players, Edwards said she’s worried they will get distracted late in their final year of high school.

“I hope they stay focused on tennis,” Edwards said. “With so many seniors you run the risk of senioritis. But so far the girls have been really focused.”

Edwards said the success her team has enjoyed has help its focus.

A week before spring break, the Bears defeated Albemarle for the first time in school history.

“That was a big win for us,” Edwards said. “That’s something my team has been waiting to do.”

The Bears have been paced by senior No. 1 Taylor Nichols, who has accepted a partial scholarship to play for Division II Fairmont (W.Va.) State.

She’s undefeated this season. She has teamed with No. 2 Julia Klaczynski to form the Bears’ top doubles team.

Edwards said she expected Riverbend to be strong this year, but it has exceeded her expectations.

“It’s real exciting,” Edwards said. “It’s a very cohesive group of girls. They’re smart, steady and they know what they’re doing.”

The Bears will put their unbeaten record on the line on Thursday when they host Colonial Forge. They defeated the Eagles 9–0 earlier this season, but Edwards said it wasn’t as easy as the score indicates.

“It was a lot closer than it sounds,” she said.

—Taft Coghill Jr.

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