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story.lead_photo.caption Graham Thomas/Herald-Leader Siloam Springs junior Trey Hardcastle returns a serve Monday during tennis practice at the John Brown University Tennis Complex. The Panthers open the season Aug. 16 at home against Alma.

The Siloam Springs boys and girls tennis teams have been working since late July for their season opener next week. The Panthers and Lady Panthers are scheduled to host Alma on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. at the John Brown University Tennis Complex.

On the boys side, the Panthers lost 6A state runner-up and 6A-West Conference champion Orest Los to graduation, while the girls lost the state doubles team of Caroline Dinger and Averie Headrick to graduation as well.

Siloam Springs tennis

2018 schedule

Date^Opponent^Time

Aug. 16^Alma^3:30 p.m.

Aug. 20^Greenwood^3:30 p.m.

Aug. 23^vs. Greenbrier, Vilonia*^3:30 p.m.

Aug. 27^Prairie Grove^3:30 p.m.

Aug. 28^at Russellville^3:30 p.m.

Sept. 4^at Greenwood^3:30 p.m.

Sept. 6^vs. Beebe, LR Christian*^3:30 p.m.

Sept. 10^at Alma^3:30 p.m.

Sept. 11^Haas Hall^3:30 p.m.

Sept. 18^Russellville^3:30 p.m.

Sept. 19^at Rogers Heritage^3:30 p.m.

Sept. 24-25^5A-West Conference Tournament^TBA

Oct. 8-9^5A State Tournament^TBA

Oct. 15-16^Overall State Tournament^TBA

  • Match to be played at Arkansas Tech

For the Panthers, head coach Scott Wright feels like senior Oliver Reid is ready to step up and be an impact player on the singles side, following 6A state champion Igor Jacociunas in 2015 and Los the previous two seasons. Reid missed a significant portion of last season with an injury.

"Obviously the last three years we've had some really good singles boys players in Igor and Orest," Wright said. "You know what? We've had some more just step up. Oliver Reid has taken his game to another level. We feel like Oliver will have an opportunity to have a really good season."

Wright said Reid has improved his game in just about every area.

"He's playing much at a much faster pace," Wright said. "He's now developed a second serve to go with that first serve. His first serve has a lot more pace than it has had. His forehand is much more accurate with a lot of top spin as well as being able to slice. I really feel like the backhand is the biggest part of where his improvement has been -- the fact that he can place the backhand, not just slice it, and that he can hit it with pace as well."

Wright expects Reid and junior Trey Hardcastle to be among the Panthers' top singles players.

"Trey Hardcastle has really improved his game tremendously," Wright said.

Junior Blaise Becan also has some varsity experience.

The Panthers have several freshman, including Lucas Junkermann, Boone Henley and Canyon Cross, who could make an impact.

"We've got several incoming freshmen on the boys team that have started to develop as good solid tennis players who will have a chance to make an impact," Wright said. "Those guys have really shown that they've got some tennis talent, and they've put a lot of time into it. They're working all the time and working on developing their game. They've made leaps and bounds improvement just over the last few months."

On the girls side, the Lady Panthers return veterans senior Kacey Soderquist and sophomore Eve Slater to go with a roster full of young players.

"Our girls side, obviously Kacey Soderquist and Eve Slater return," Wright said. "But we've got some good young kids that are starting to develop. We feel like they'll provide some good opportunities on the girls side, not only now but in the future. They're already working to develop and we are really young on the girls side this year."

Wright said the team will continue to accept new players through the first week of school.

"You never know that first day of school who's going to show up and be ready to play as well," Wright said. "That happens every year. So that door's still open. You obviously get people that move in to the district that aren't aware of it until they get here. Sometimes they may not even register until the first day of school. We always leave that door (open) as well."

Sports on 08/08/2018

Print Headline: Tennis teams gearing up for season

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