PORTSMOUTH, Ohio — By sweeping the three singles matches, the Gallia Academy High School tennis team captured a season-opening 3-2 win at Portsmouth Clay on Wednesday.
The Blue Devils are coming off a 16-1 campaign, but did graduate all three of their singles players, including Connor Christian — a four-time all-Southeastern Ohio Athletic League honoree, a two-time SEOAL Player of the Year, and a Division II district tournament qualifier.
Joining Christian at the district meet was fellow senior Joseph Sebastian — an all-SEOAL first-teamer at second singles.
Verun Sharma, the Blue Devils’ third singles, was a two-time all-league (2013 and 2015) Honorable Mention pick — and a first-team doubles player two years ago.
In capturing the SEOAL championship last season, Gallia Academy went a perfect 8-0.
Gallia Academy coach Randy Christian said replacing Christian, Sebastian and Sharma won’t be easy, but believes junior Miles Cornwell, senior Adriana Wilcoxon and sophomore Pierce Wilcoxon are ready to take aim.
The Wilcoxons combined for the Blue Devils’ first-doubles club that qualified for last year’s district tournament and made all-SEOAL.
On Wednesday, the three singles swept Clay in straight sets.
Pierce Wilcoxon swept Hinze 6-2, 6-1, Cornwell swept Stone 6-2, 6-0, and Adriana Wilcoxon blanked Pack 6-0, 6-0.
Both Blue Devils’ doubles teams lost, including the second doubles team of Nathaniel Thomas and Janelle Stevens in three sets (4-6, 7-6, 4-6).
The first doubles tandem of Olivia Meadows and MiKayla Edelmann lost 4-6, 4-6.
The Blue Devils hosted Unioto for their first home match on Friday, then return to the road on Monday (April 4) for the SEOAL opener at Athens.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106