After battling Mother Nature for much of March, the Berkeley Springs High School tennis teams got their season started on Tuesday, March 20, at Petersburg. The boys fell 4-3 to the Vikings, while Petersburg's girls team downed the Indians 7-0.
Eric Lyda, the number one singles player for Berkeley Springs, defeated Dylan Riggleman 8-5, the same score that the number two player Denny Golden beat Petersburg's number two player Moe Foley by. Ironically, Golden and Lyda, the number one doubles team, beat Riggleman and Foley by the same score, 8-5.
The number three and four singles players, Ian Whibley and Daniel West, respectively, lost their singles matches. Petersburg also won the number two and three doubles match to pull out the 4-3 victory. John Gordon and Whibley played in the number two position, while West and Dustin Triplett played number 3.
Kelsey Swaim, Berkeley Springs' number one singles player on the girls team lost as did number two Jessica Sheppard, number three Meghan Ambrose and number four Brittany Fox. The three doubles teams also lost to their Grant County rival. Swaim and Jessica Sheppard are the number one doubles team, Emily Hornbaker and Caity Hott play number two, while Christina Knable and Elizabeth Sheppard play number three.
One week later, on Tuesday, March 27, the Indians traveled to Hagerstown, Md. for a match against St. James Academy.
The boys lost 5-2, with Eric Lyda and Golden winning singles matches. Lyda defeated Callen Ginty 7-6 (7-4) and 7-6 (7-5), while Golden won in straight sets over Frascer MacPlum 6-3, 6-2.
The St. James girls team shut out Berkeley Springs.
The following day, March 28, Berkeley Springs visited Clear Spring, Md. Golden won the only match for the boys, defeating Cory Shives in three sets 3-6, 6-4, and 7-6 (7-3).
The girls team was unable to complete its match due to darkness. The match was suspended with the doubles team of Hott and Hornbaker tied with their Clear Spring opponent, one match each. Both Swaim and Jessica Sheppard won their singles matches. Swaim defeated Teresa Mills 6-3, 6-3, while Sheppard beat Mandy Crawl 6-1, 6-0.
Other members of the boys and girls teams include Logan Lyda, Matt Sugg and Josh Wise along with Ashley Mason, Angela Gallihue, Whitney Wilt and Stephanie Handlos.
The unusually snowy conditions in March created unique problems that the Indians had to overcome, according to Berkeley Springs coach Paula Osborne.
"The weather presented a huge challenge for our team at the beginning of the season," Osborne said. "The team had to shovel courts and fight cold blustery temperatures to get any practices in. Kim Wills and the Heath family helped keep the courts clear of snow."
The Indians also faced other problems with facilities, because of the large number of participants and the limited number of courts in town.
"Biser Street doesn't have enough courts to accommodate all of our players," Osborne said. "Our numbers have grown each year and this year we have 13 girls and nine boys on the team. The limited space at Biser Street has created some problems. But, since we are able to also use the four courts at Coolfont we have been able to have challenge matches and conduct practice drills successfully. The Mountain Side Homeowners Association allowed us to use Coolfont's facilities. The Woods Resort allowed us to use their indoor facility."
The Indians have a scheduled match with Hampshire County tomorrow, April 5 and will then compete in the Potomac Valley Conference Championships at East Hardy on Saturday, March 7.