Five of a possible 22 practices during preseason wouldn’t have been enough for a veteran team, Charles H. Flowers High School tennis coach Rob Vinson said, let alone a team mostly comprised of underclassmen. But with the unseasonably cold and wet March weather, that’s all the Jaguars got before playing perhaps their biggest match of the season Saturday against perennial county runner-up Bowie.
“Yes, I was definitely wary of that match, I was real concerned because half of my team is freshmen and sophomores and we just didn’t have enough time,” Vinson said. “From what I understand, we were the only ones that played our match Saturday. Even if we practiced every day from March 1st to the 21st it still wouldn’t have been enough time.”
But, apparently it was. With a 5-4 victory, Flowers positioned itself as the second best team in the county, first in line to challenge nine-time defending all-Prince George’s County Region III champion Eleanor Roosevelt, which hasn’t lost a single league match in at least a decade.
“This absolutely made a statement and established that we’re up in [the top of the county],” Vinson said. “We still need a lot of improvement, there’s room for a lot but to come out of the gate and win a close match like that is really important. It helps sets the tone for the rest of the year. We have nothing but big expectations.”
The Jaguars got routine wins in boys’ Nos. 1 and 2 singles from DeMani Eubanks and Qumar Ghani and girls’ No. 2 doubles, Angela Chin and Paige Brown. Sydney Rodriguez and Danielle Pickens won the tightest contest of the match, 9-7, in an extended eight-game pro-set.
“We only play Bowie once,” Vinson said. “We play Roosevelt once and we play Bowie once, so that was a big match for us.”
How they rank
1. Eleanor Roosevelt
2. Elizabeth Seton
4. Charles H. Flowers