Entering her second year as an algebra teacher at Sealy High School, Joni Baxley, a member of Sealy High School’s class of 2014, was named the new head tennis coach, swapping her assistant duties with former head coach Lynda Mauney.
Baxley played tennis for the Texas Lutheran University Bulldogs after learning under Mauney, who enters her 30th year in education, 15th in Sealy, and mentioned just a few alterations heading into this year.
“It was definitely a change, more responsibilities so now I have to make sure everything’s together,” Baxley said, although adding the rapport with her team remained the same. “We’re getting along great nothing changes with them.”
Those athletes hit the courts for the first time in the regular season with the Caldwell Hornets playing the role of visitor for the non-district duel.
The Tigers graduated a few of their top members from last year’s team and will get set to say farewell to four more but there’s plenty of tennis before then.
“We have a very solid group of boys and our girls are getting there as well, we have three senior boys and one senior girl so we’re going to miss a few after this season but they are holding the team together, the freshmen can look up to them, we have a ton of freshmen,” Baxley mentioned before the match.
“We have a solid chance, all three of our senior boys are in the top four and our senior girl is in the top as well,” she said of Jonah DeLozier, Austin Keeton, J.T. Rassette and Macey Feland. “We have a few freshmen who are looking pretty solid as well; Dillon Dornak is one of them and we have a few good sophomores too in Hayden Havel and Eric Wilson.”
DeLozier, Wilson, Havel and Dornak all started their singles’ season off with a win although Dornak’s victory didn’t count toward the team score. Keeton and Rassette, as well as Carlos Godoy, dropped their singles matches to keep things even, 3-3, through one group.
Rebecca Kins was the lone Tiger to win a girls’ single match but Sealy bounced back by grabbing two of the three boys’ doubles matches with Rassette/Godoy and Cameron and Daniel Eschenburg earning wins to make it a 9-6 contest in favor of Caldwell.
Feland and Kins won one of the girls’ double matches while Morgan Smith and Abigail Zientek dropped an 8-3 decision heading into the mixed doubles showdown where Chelsea Robertson and Norman Juarez secured an 8-4 win although it did little to affect the final team score that sat at 11-8.
Also earning wins that did not go toward the team scores were the following boys’ doubles pairings: Wilson/Dornak, Havel/Seth Pine, Justin and Jacob Gajewski, Nik Young/Colby Eschenburg and Jacob Biberstein/Connor Vesely.
Young/Eschenburg, Biberstein/Vesely and the Gajewski’s notched an extra doubles, Vesely won a singles’ match and Pine lost a solo match although none of those formulated into the team decision.