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Ennis Daily News

Their swing made Lions king

By Mark Warde

Like a mighty river the varsity tennis teams at Ennis High School continue to roll, having won 14 district championships. While the state championship has eluded them, they remain a constant force in the league, area and region in Class 5A.

This kind of domination was rare prior to the arrival of head coach Keith Howard in 1996, though prior Coach Jack Hughes led the team to a pair of district titles in 1992 and 1993.

He is quick to deflect the praise to the late Johnny Cody, his wife Joann, Lee McCleary, Bob Agar, Jimmy Boon, Gina Rokas and Glenda Quinn. Any dialogue with Howard also recognizes the work of Wyatt Johnson, his assistant coach for 10 years, and Heather Doslich, who coaches the junior high players and assists on the varsity level.

Unlike most sports, tennis is played in both the fall and the spring. Players compete in team tennis for three months each fall semester, before the competitive style involves the more traditional format, which revolves around individual play. The format is different, but it’s the same tennis players.

If the success under Coach Howard was a fluke, the results would fluctuate. They have not. The addition of assistant Johnson only solidified the development of young players to the point where expectation leads the Lions to form highly competitive teams on a perennial basis.

The 2015-2016 season witnessed a young squad, comprised almost entirely of underclassmen, begin to lay the foundation for a club that should contend at a high level for several years.

The Ennis Daily News profiles those regional qualifiers this semester.

 

Alyssa Herrera

BIO

Birthplace: Ennis

Age: 17

Height: 5-foot-5

Grade in the fall: 12

Parents: Omar, Pricilla

Siblings: Duke Herrera, 21.

Hobbies: Hunting, fishing, painting, taking care of pet ducks

Favorite sport besides tennis: hunting

Farthest Place Traveled: Cozumel, Mexico

Tennis Q & A

 

Began Playing tennis at: 12

Right or Left: Right-handed

Strength of Game: Forehand and serve

Like Most About Tennis: Having a family-like team

Advantage of Playing in Ennis: Indoor courts for practice

 

Neely Pierce

BIO

Birthplace: Dallas

Age: 17

Height: 5-foot-8

Grade in the fall: 12

Parents: Bill Pierce, Ky Sibley

Hobbies: Drawing, painting

Favorite sport besides tennis: football

Farthest Place Traveled: California

Tennis Q & A

Began Playing tennis at: 12

Right or Left: Right-handed

Strength of Game: Backhand

Like Most About Tennis: How close the team is

Advantage of Playing in Ennis: Indoor courts for practice

Favorite Ennis tennis coach quote: “Sometimes you’ve got to put down the shovel. You’re digging the hole you’re in. Find a way to get it together and crawl up out of the hole.”

 

Tori Wilhoite

BIO

Birthplace: Waxahachie

Age: 16

Height: 5-foot-6

Grade in the fall: 11

Parents: Tony, Teresa

Siblings: Drew, 29, Trevor, 23

Hobbies: Tennis

Favorite sport besides tennis: Softball

Farthest Place Traveled: Mexico

Tennis Q & A

Began Playing tennis at: 12

Right or Left: Right-handed

Strength of Game: Overheads

Like Most About Tennis: The competition

Advantage of Playing in Ennis: You can practice rain or shine.

Favorite Ennis tennis coach quote: “Why play your opponents like it’s practice when you can go into the match ready to your potential.”

 

Ashley Slovacek

BIO

Birthplace: Dallas

Age: 17

Height: 5-foot-4

Grade in the fall: 11

Parents: Timothy, Staci

Siblings: Kaley, 24

Hobbies: Tennis, fishing, fitness

Favorite sport besides tennis: Soccer

Farthest Place Traveled: Orlando, Florida

Tennis Q & A

Began Playing tennis at: 12

Right or Left: Right-handed

Strength of Game: Service, consistency

Like Most About Tennis: I am in control of how I play and react

Advantage of Playing in Ennis: Being part of a family-structured team

Favorite Ennis tennis coach quote: “So you say we have a chance.”

 

Johnny Herrera

BIO

Birthplace: Chicago

Age: 16

Height: 5-foot-5

Grade in the fall: 10

Parents: Enrique Perez, Margarita Herrera

Siblings: Margaret Perez, 12

Hobbies: Tennis

Favorite sport besides tennis: Soccer

Farthest Place Traveled: Mexico

Tennis Q & A

Began Playing tennis at: 14

Right or Left: Right-handed

Strength of Game: Forehand

Like Most About Tennis: Hitting winners

Advantage of Playing in Ennis: Indoor courts

Favorite Ennis tennis coach quote: “After a match Coach Howard brought up a past players’ parent who always believed that it is not about winning or losing but to always hold your head up and to never let your opponent take your pride away from you.”

 

 

Matthew Shorrock

BIO

Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio

Age: 18

Height: 5-foot-11

Grade in the fall: 12

Parents: Chris, Deanna

Siblings: Chris, 20

Hobbies: Golf

Favorite sport besides tennis: Golf

Farthest Place Traveled: Brazil

Tennis Q & A

Began playing tennis at: 10

Right or Left: Left-handed

Strength of Game: Serving

Like Most About Tennis: Hitting people in a match, you know, getting a peg on somebody

Advantage of Playing in Ennis: Developing a fighting mentality

Favorite Ennis tennis coach quote: “Light your hair on fire.”

 

Noah Slovacek

BIO

Birthplace: Ennis

Age: 16

Height: 6-foot-2

Grade in the fall: 11

Parents: Thomas, Carol

Siblings: Hannah, 26, Paige, 23

Hobbies: Tennis

Favorite sport besides tennis: Football

Farthest Place Traveled: Washington

Tennis Q & A

Began playing tennis at: 9

Right or Left: Right-handed

Strength of Game: Court coverage

Like Most About Tennis: Competitiveness and individuality of sport

Advantage of Playing in Ennis: You learn not to be afraid

Favorite Ennis tennis coach quote: “Hold your head up speech after a match. Make an impression on what to remember when competing.”

 

Austin Cervantes

BIO

Birthplace: Ennis

Age: 16

Height: 5-foot-8

Grade in the fall: 10

Parents: Adam, Courtney

Siblings: Aydrie, 12, Ace, 5

Hobbies: Being outside with friends

Favorite sport besides tennis: Baseball

Farthest Place Traveled: Cancun, Mexico

Tennis Q & A

Began playing tennis at: 12

Right or Left: Right-handed

Strength of Game: Ground strokes

Like Most About Tennis: Every point is different and nothing is the same

Advantage of Playing in Ennis: The family feeling of the team

Favorite Ennis tennis coach quote: “A day before a big match–to keep some of the team loose–he showed me how to ride a ripstick and longboard. He just makes us feel like one of his own family members.”

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Posted by on Jun 20 2016. Filed under News, School news, Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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