By Carey Phillips

Smoky Mountain’s tennis team will open practice at 4:30 p.m. today (Thursday) at Mark Watson Park.

“I’m excited,” Coach Ashley Doolin said. “It seems like we’re going to have a big group of girls. I’m looking forward to the season. We have a bunch of retuning girls, although we’re missing Maddy (Polyasko), and that will be strange.”

Polyasko, who has played in the last three state 2-A doubles tournaments, has graduated. She won the state title along with Veronica Judson in 2017 and teamed with Ella Harris, a rising junior, last season.

“Ella has that experience with Maddy, and they did well,” Doolin said. “Ella has been working really hard in the off season.”

Others Doolin expects to return from a 6-6 team include seniors Natalie Partain and Jenaya Reagan and juniors Katherine Selby, Julianna Welch, Samantha Rosario, Sydney Lewis, Hannah Lillard and Eden Wilson.

“We’ve got several freshmen coming in so we’re excited about getting them started,” Doolin said.

Jim Eyler will again be assistant coach.

A scrimmage is planned for Aug. 14 at Tuscola.

The season-opener is Sept. 5 at Owen. The first home match will be Sept. 12 against Hendersonville.

The team may play in a tournament Sept. 7 at Enka, but that will be decided later.

The schedule is as follows:

Sept. 10 – at Pisgah; 12 – Hendersonville; 17 – at Brevard; 19 – at East Henderson; 24 – Franklin; 26 – Pisgah.

Oct. 1 – at Hendersonville; 3 – Brevard;7 – at Franklin; 8 – East Henderson.