CORNELIUS – Up 9-7 in the final match against Myers Park April 25, the Hough tennis team had an undefeated regular season in its sights.
The Huskies were tied at 4-4, with Sebastian Hernandez and Banks Taylor battling against last year’s 4A runners-up. Myers Park tied it at 9-9, but the Hough players prevailed, sending the team onto the court in celebration and into the postseason on a high note – it’s first-ever unbeaten season and defeat of the Mustangs.
“When we beat Myers Park, our teamwork and collective cheering brought their spirits up,” said Hough freshman Aaron Tautjo.
First-year coach Ro Lawsin is proud of the comradery on his 12-0 team, on which 10 of 15 players are freshman or sophomores. Ryan Mangianae and Hernandez – both sophomores – play the top-two singles positions, as Dylan Masters and Preston Snyder are the seniors among the top six.
“Everyone treats each other with respect,” Lawsin said. “With anything you can have egos, but especially with the culture of tennis. My job is to build in them the concept of a team.”
With the unbeaten season and I-Meck 4A conference title, Hough will have home court throughout the playoffs, until – if they reach that far – the state championship.
The Huskies rolled over their first-round opponent Northwest Guilford April 30, beating the Vikings 5-0. Next up was Greensboro Page, which Hough faced Tuesday, May 7.
Despite the usual challenges of the postseason, Lawsin isn’t shy about his vision for his team.
“I would love nothing more than to win a state title,” he said. “I like our chances.”
Lawsin called the Myers Park win – the Huskies could face the Mustangs again in the postseason – the 500-pound gorilla. But “the 800-pound gorilla is Green Hope.”
The Huskies are looking to do something no boys team has ever accomplished in school history – win a state championship – but Lawsin believes he has the right guys to do it.
“This is a great team and I’m proud to coach them,” he said.