Tupelo Golden Wave off to perfect tennis start

By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The Tupelo Golden Wave tennis team will know a lot more about itself after the weekend.
Tupelo is off to a 6-0 start to the season after beating Division 2-6A opponent Grenada 6-1 Tuesday evening at Rob Leake City Park.
The weekend travel schedule includes stops at Northwest Rankin and Madison Central, as well as the East Mississippi Invitational in Meridian, where defending 6A champion Ocean Springs will also play.
“We’ll get a good look at some south teams there,” said first-year Wave coach Laurie Bishop. “We’ll kind of get to see how we measure up.”
Tupelo has now beaten Grenada twice – the first time by a 4-3 score – 4A power Corinth, Columbus and South Panola in a double header.
Bishop will try and lead the Wave to their first team title since 2009 beginning with the division tournament here on April 16.
On Tuesday, Drew Ballard defeated Taylor Hames 6-1, 6-0 to win boys singles.
“I think we can make it there,” Ballard said. “We’ve just got to position our courts right. If we position them right, we can win it and bring home that ring.”
Bishop will have a chance to see what different combinations can do over the next few matches, but she says she’s pretty pleased with the way things are working out as they are.
Tuesday, Aaron Hildenbrand and Austin Dillon won their boys doubles No. 1 while Will Otis and Andrew Hildenbrand survived their boys doubles No. 2 in three sets 6-1, 4-6, 10-7.
In girls singles, Casey Marshall defeated Rachel Cain 6-0, 4-0. Girls doubles No. 1 team of Emily Carter and Sarah Hollingsworth fell 1-6, 3-6 but the No. 2 team of Ashley Williams and Megan Ware won the longest match of the evening 7-5, 7-6 over Cassie Bennett and Sarah Kate Griffin.
In mixed doubles, Kyle Holliman and Kat Stratton fought off Etta Jennings and Marty Gilliland after a 6-7 loss in the first set to win 6-2, 6-2.
“We’re pretty comfortable with what we’ve been working with,” Bishop said. “That’s one thing we aimed to do, was get it figured out so that our doubles teams could work together and get comfortable with each other.”
brandon.speck@journalinc.com