OHS tennis team serving up wins this season

OKEECHOBEE — The Okeechobee High School boys and girls tennis teams defeated Clewiston High School in Okeechobee on March 10. The girls team won 5-2 while the boys swept Clewiston 7-0.

The boys team is off to a 7-3 start this season and the girls are 8-1 and currently on a winning streak of seven straight.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/Omar Ayala
OKEECHOBEE — The Okeechobee High School girls tennis team is currently 8-1 and on a seven-game win streak.

The match against Clewiston went great,” said Okeechobee tennis coach Omar Ayala. “We got to rest our top players and played some freshmen. It’s good to give them some game experience and see how much they have grown this season.

“The season has been going much better than anyone expected,” continued Ayala. “I talked to them about how I wanted to move the program and make it feel like a family to them and to not let each other down on the court, and they have done just that. They bought into the expectations that were given to them.”

Lake Okeechobee News/Omar Ayala
The Okeechobee High School boys tennis team swept Clewiston on March 10 and is currently 7-3.

Along that seven-game win streak the girls team is currently on, they’ve swept Martin County twice and defeated South Fork and Fort Pierce Central. Sweeping those Treasure Coast teams is no easy task considering most of those players are involved with the sport year-round.

“It’s extremely hard to compete against the teams against the coast,” explained Ayala. “They play all year and have more opportunities to play. But I told our team that it doesn’t matter who we are up against, we will compete and make them earn every point possible. Our only loss for the ladies is Jensen Beach and for the boys would be Jensen Beach and Martin County. We can compete against anybody and our teams have the fire and desire to win districts and compete in regionals.”

Okeechobee senior and team captain Alize Merchant has been a leader on and off the court for the Lady Brahman team. She has yet to lose a match this year.

“We’re focused on staying disciplined and committed,” Ayala said of his players. “Most of the student-athletes are taking AP classes and dual enrollment, so I try to balance it out the best way possible. They work extremely hard in the classroom.”

The next home match for Okeechobee will be on March 31 at 4 p.m. against Lake Placid. That match will also serve as the Brahman tennis program’s senior night.

“We are such a young team and we want it to keep growing,” Ayala concluded. “We have a good chance to go far in our district if we stay disciplined and play with confidence.”

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