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AHS tennis team sets ‘high’ goals for season

Andalusia seniors Jake Ricardy and Mitchell Clark are both looking to have a good 2010 season on the tennis team.

With the season already under way, the Bulldogs will start their regular season with Opp in approximately two weeks.

Andalusia lost two seniors to graduation last year, but Ricardy and Clark are ready to provide senior leadership to the younger players.

“We’re pretty much going to be normal leaders and stay active and help the younger guys out a lot,” Ricardy said. “We’re looking to have a good year.”

Both Ricardy and Clark have been under the tutelage of head tennis coach Perry Dillard for the past four years.

In their four years playing for Andalusia, both have made five appearances at the state tournament combined, most recently where they finished in the semifinals in 2009.

“This is a special year for them,” Dillard said about the seniors. “A goal from their stand-point is to make it back to state.”

This year, Andalusia will be back in the same section with Opp, Jackson, UMS-Wright, and W.S. Neal. The top two will advance to the state tournament.

In 2009, UMS-Wright won the Class 4A title and Dillard said they are the team to beat.

“That’s who we’ve got to play to beat,” he said.

In addition to Ricardy and Clark, the Bulldogs have sophomores Mayur Patel and Jonathan Wiggins, and freshmen, Chris Smith and Alex Evans.

In total, there are 13 players on the team, Dillard said.

Asked if there is anything he’ll do differently with this year’s team, Dillard said last season’s record speaks for itself.

“We went 11-2 last year and there isn’t much we’re going to change,” he said.

Andalusia started its conditioning program in January and Dillard said practice has gone great.

“These guys have worked really hard,” Dillard said. “There have been days that I haven’t been (at Lurleen B. Wallace tennis courts) and they come out here and work on their own. They are a hard-working group of guys.”