CRESTVIEW — The Crestview High School tennis team is midway through the 2019 season.
While the season is not going how they hoped, Coach Yolanda Castille admires how her team has reacted.
“They are very courageous,” Castille said. “We have formidable opponents, but they get out there and they fight every match.”
Castille has given her team a lot of encouragement throughout the season.
“I tell them not to be discouraged,” said Castille. “It’s a lady's and gentleman’s game. We just have to build from where we are.”
Instead of focusing on the season as a whole, Castille tries to get her players to focus on one match at a time.
“I tell them to start to study and figure out what strategy they can use at the beginning of a match,” Castille said. “I just want them to enjoy the game.”
The enjoyment of the game lead to a better bond between the members of the team.
“We have a wonderful team,” said Castille. “They have such a good camaraderie; it’s just great.”
The Bulldogs are currently in the middle of a seven-game home stand. These games lead up to district play at the end of the season.
Castille says one advantage to playing at home is that everyone gets a chance to play.
“When we are at home, they all get to play,” said Castille. “When we travel, I can only take six boys and six girls.”
Even though the team’s season has not always gone how they wanted, Castille said she has plenty of players who have impressed her so far this season.
“My number one-ranked boy is Juan Hernandez,” Castille said. “Being number one is tough, but his game has improved so much.”
On the girls’ side, Alexis Woodward has caught her coach’s eye.
“Alexis is in her first year with us,” said Castille. “She immediately picks up on new skills and she is very focused.”
There are also two sets of sibling on the team: Emma and Elise Medlock, who are twins, along with Micah and Elisha Bitterman.
“They are all wonderful kids,” Castille said.
Castille said she is looking forward to district play this year.
“Last year we finished second in the district tournament,” Castille said. “Hopefully we’ll do just as well this year, maybe even better.”