YORK -- First-year York Comprehensive High girls tennis coach Ben Clark is building for the future.
Clark, who coached high school tennis seven years in the state of Washington, said tennis participation is on the rise at YCHS.
"We have a young team with only one senior, Holly Canipe," noted Clark. "We will miss her presence next year."
There are 18 on the varsity roster, but 13 are first-year players.
"We have a good group that is working hard on the fundamentals," he said.
Sophomore Michelle Goss, who played No. 5 singles last season, is part of the youth movement.
"We lost four seniors last year and I moved up to No. 1 singles," she said. "We have a young team competing in a strong region and getting better."
Goss, whose sister, Mary, plays No. 4 singles, continues to work on all phases of the game.
"I have confidence in my ground strokes," she said. "I am working on my overspin."
The third-year varsity player sees improvement in the team this year and looks for the Lady Cougars to become more competitive next season and beyond.
Katia Patrick, an eighth-grader in her second year of varsity play, is the No. 2 singles player and teams with (Michelle) Goss to play No. 1 doubles.
"I am playing with more confidence this year," commented Patrick, who takes tennis lessons at the Rock Hill Tennis Center.
"The tennis lessons have improved my ground strokes and overall game," she said.
Patrick also sees improvement in the team and a bright future for the girls' tennis program
Mary Hall plays No. 3 singles and first-year player Brandi Neely occupies No. 6.
Clark said Neely's athletic ability has moved her into the top six.
"Brandi works hard and helps other players on the team," the YCHS coach said.
Clark is looking for greater participation in the future and would like to see more team members playing at the Rock Hill Tennis Center.
While encouraging team members to improve their game, Clark said there's more to tennis than wins and losses.
"I want our players to feel good about what they do," added Clark. I would like for them to enjoy tennis as a lifelong sport."
Clark is appreciative of volunteer assistant coach Rusty Graham.
"Rusty is a big help coaching 18 girls," he said.
Graham said he enjoys helping coach the team and sees a lot of potential.
"I encourage all of our returning players to play tennis in the off-season," he said. "It would help their game."