Tiger tennis seniors

Daily Sun photo/Mike Phillips

Corsicana’s fall Team Tennis team is led by seven seniors who all have a lot of talent and experience. Back row from left are: Ivan Bernal, Grant Allen, Jose Miranda, Brayon Carrillo and Eddy Hernandez. Front row from left are Hannah Keltner and Ana Perez.

Sure there’s the Streak, one of the most unique and best in Texas, and every year the kids who play on Corsicana’s fall Team Tennis team have to live with the fact that the program has reached the postseason 34 years in a row.

They all believe No. 35 is on the way this season.

“I think about the Streak every time I walk on the tennis court and every day practice,” said senior Eddy Hernandez, who is one of the leaders of this year’s team.

Hernandez is one of seven seniors who hope to not only make the playoffs to keep the streak alive, but win a district title.

The Tigers finished second to Ennis a year ago with a young team with some question marks. This year’s team is loaded with experience and it’s a group that totally buys into the team concept of playing for each other that is rare in an individual sport like tennis.

“In the past we’re (the coaches) preaching team, team, team,” said Tigers tennis coach Chad White. “Now they’re carrying that message to us on the team concept. They’re talking about team, team, team.”

White likes this team, and believes this group could have a big year.

“We have high expectations and high hopes,” he said. “We’ve got our whole team back from last year, including seven seniors.

Hernandez is the No. 1 boys singles payer and senior Hannah Keltner returns as the No. 1 girls player. Keltner is a four-year starter who brings talent, savvy and a long road of experience to he final season at Corsicana on the court.

She has been a pig part (three years) of the Streak.

“I like the streak,” she said. “We’re winning. The Streak is a tradition, and we’re going to keep winning.”

Hernandez said the Streak is a big part of the team, but the future and keeping it alive and moving ahead is the goal.

“This team doesn’t think about the past,” he said. “We think about success and winning now.”

The Tigers are off to a fast start and take a 5-1 record into this weekend’s matches against Groesbeck and Whitehouse. They play rival and defending district champ Ennis on Tuesday. They picked up a big win on the road this week when they best Lindale, an old rival from their previous district.

They didn’t just beat Lindale, which is always very competitive, they hammered the Eagles, winning the match 15-4.

White, who was worried about his team a year ago at this point because of a lack of experience, said he was impressed with the one-sided victory at Lindale.

He knows this team is not only tough but deep with talent.

“We’re a senior-laden team,” White said.

The seven seniors make a big difference. They are Hernandez, Keltner and Jose Miranda ( No. 3), Grant Allen (No.4), Ivan Bernal (No.4) and Brayan Carrillo (No.5). Ana Perez is the other girl who returns as a senior.

Perez is a strong doubles player. Junior Helen Zhang has stepped up this year and is playing at No. 2. She was third in the district last year and just missed going to te region meet.

“She (Zhang) has improved a lot,” White said. “We’ve got some solid juniors on the boys’ side who can be huge contributors and inpactful players. Dylan Self and Raven Self and Chaz Leist are all juniors.”

The girls also have young talent on this year’s team such as junior Daisy Garcia, sophomore Naomi Francis and Emma Carpenter., who is a really solid freshman.

White also likes sophomores Libby Green and Kayliana Scott on the girls side and freshman Luke Leist on the boys side.

“This team is really letting us coach them,” he said. “They’re very coachable and they’re buying into the team concept. We’re being tough on them, but they’re responding.

“And one last thing,” he said, “we have some outstanding kids. They’re great student athletes and have great character on and off the court.”

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