For the first time in nearly 20 years, the Eleanor Roosevelt High School tennis team didn’t have to cross the street to play at home.
The cracked, graying concrete that served as unplayable courts, but sat on the school’s campus received a facelift in the summer. And on yet another cold and windy March afternoon, this tennis match was played on a brand new green and blue surface.
“Hopefully they’ll maybe have a little more pride in the fact that they can actually play at their school and now their friends can come see them,” said Roosevelt coach Brendan O’Connell.
Whether playing their home matches across the street from the school or on the actual campus, Roosevelt’s performance has been the same for a while as the Raiders cruised to a 9-0 victory against High Point on Thursday.
Both the Raiders’ No. 1 singles players cruised to victories as boys No. 1 Vijay Golla beat Leo Bonilla, 6-0, 6-0, and girls No. 1 Lydia Carter downed Yolande Pokam, 6-1, 6-0.
“I love playing without any cracks in the court,” Golla said. “It wasn’t that bad. Now we just need to get net straps and it’ll be practically like brand new courts.”
Only one of the eight matches on the day was particularly close where Roosevelt’s Jonathan Jones beat Daniel Soreng, 7-5, 2-6 (10-3) to seal the sweep and move the team to 2-0 overall.
The Raiders have won the region title for eight of the nine seasons O’Connell has been the coach. Now, in his 10th year, the Raiders are again the prohibitive favorites.
“I feel like it’s a good thing and a bad thing,” Carter said. “It’s good because everyone’s sort of afraid to play you, but it’s bad because there’s some pressure. I definitely feel like Flowers and Bowie are totally out to get us. And I feel like I can’t let the streak [of regional titles] end while I’m here.”
Eleanor Roosevelt 9, High Point 0
No. 1 Singles: Vijay Golla (ER) d. Leo Bonilla (HP), 6-0, 6-0
No. 2 Singles: Jon Jones (ER) d. Daniel Soreng (HP), 7-5, 2-6 (10-3)
No. 1 Doubles: Nick Galloway/Julian Ivey (ER) d. Edward Adutwum/Oshane Dwyre, 6-0, 6-0
No. 2 Doubles: Tory Ivey/Antonio Caicedo (ER) d. Michael Soreng/Mauro Ramirez, 6-1, 6-1
No. 1 Singles: Lydia Carter (ER) d. Yolande Pokam (HP), 6-1, 6-0
No. 2 Singles: Kristin Watson (ER) d. Joykendra Washington (HP), 6-0, 6-0
No. 1 Doubles: Tiara Booth/Danielle Gillis (ER) d. Angeline Samuel/Neha Tirkey (HP), 6-2, 6-3
No. 2 Doubles: Jasmine Jack/Mariame Moumena (ER) d. Priyanka Sharma/Shirley Homes (HP), 6-3, 6-0
Bruno To/Arionna Cooper (ER) win via forfeit