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South tennis teams ready to have fun
South Effingham’s Mallori Jenkins prepares to hit a forehand during a 2018 match. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

GUYTON — The South Effingham tennis teams are just one week away from their season opener. 

The Mustangs are feeling pretty good about their game and the Lady Mustangs are coming off an impressive 17-1 record from a year ago.

The Lady Mustangs lost Kearsetyn Bargeron to graduation but that won't change the pace or the passion of the program.

"We lost our number one so that's a hard loss," head coach Kristen Finlen said. "The boys lost some players as well so we're just trying to rebuild from there and trying to work hard. I think it's going to be a very fun season. It's going to be great matches all the way around the board."

The boys saw their season come to an end in the Class AAAAA Sweet 16 and are looking forward to another deep postseason run.

Key returners for each team include Hunter Wainright, Reece Allen, Mallori Jenkins and Kayla Rodgers. The Mustangs kept busy during the offseason, competing in various events to stay active and worked on perfecting certain parts of their game.

"A lot of them play tournaments," Finlen said. "A lot of them play during the offseason. We have an open court they can come to if they need help with individual strokes. A lot of them take lessons as well.

“A lot of them play junior team tennis which has really helped. It helps keep a racquet in their hand as they are playing different people and matches constantly."

Finlen is entering her sixth year at the helm and it's the love of the game and her players that keeps her rooted in South Effingham.

"I really enjoy coaching and being around the kids," she said. "I enjoy the sport. I played the sport in high school and college so I really enjoy coming out and helping the kids and seeing them play, and watching the great matches."

There's no particular match Finlen has her eye on this season. "We look forward to all of our matches," said Finlen. "It's such great competition and good matches to watch all the way around."