ROCKINGHAM — For the third straight season, the Richmond Senior girls tennis team will have a different coach.
Allie Goodman inherits a team that has won two games in each of the last two years, but has six players returning this season.
“We have a couple of girls who came out because they were interested in the sport,” Goodman said. “We have some beginners and they have improved greatly.”
Richmond will kick off its season 4 p.m. today when it plays host to Southeastern Conference foe Hoke. Last season, the Raiders defeated the Bucks in both matches.
Goodman said she has a good idea of who her top four players will be for the opener. Three of the four Goodman mentioned are returners. Kenzie Ransom is expected to start the season as the team’s No. 1 player. McKenzie Grimes will be No. 2 and Meredith McLean will play third singles. The lone newcomer in the top four is Destiny Buie at No. 4.
Also returning this season for the Raiders are: Oliva Haley, Erica Rich and Blair Simmons. Mollie Collins, Kallie Hammond, Jelisa Robinson, Majasti Robinson and Helle Svendsen join Buie as new members on the team.
Goodman added she has been pleased to see the leadership the veteran players have shown during practice.
“The older girls are helping out the younger ones,” Goodman said. “They take what I say and teach the younger ones if I can’t get over to them. I have really seen this team come together to help each other out. I’m proud of that.”
A former youth tennis player in the Atlanta area, Goodman isn’t focused on wins and losses at this time. She wants to see her team leave everything on the court.
“The biggest thing is to try,” Goodman said. “A lot of the girls may not give it their all in practice. I want them to try during the games.”
After consecutive road games next week at SEC rivals Purnell Swett and Lumberton, Richmond will return home 4 p.m. Sept. 9 against Pinecrest.
Reach sports editor Shawn Stinson at 910-817-2671 or on Twitter @scgolfer.