Lady Eagles tennis aims high

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Oak Mountain girls&8217; tennis coach Toni Leo believes her team has as good a chance as anyone going into this week&8217;s Class 6A state tennis meet in Mobile.

Leo said she firmly believes the competition will come down to Mountain Brook, Vestavia Hills and her Lady Eagles.

&8220;It&8217;s going to be a dog fight, there&8217;s no doubt about it,&8221; Leo said.

The Mountain Brook Spartans return to this year&8217;s tournament as the defending Class 6A champions while the Vestavia Hills Rebels are coming off a regional win last week over both Oak Mountain and Mountain Brook.

Despite the stiff competition, Leo said she believes her squad has the ability to be the best of the three favorites.

&8220;What will come into play a lot is how the draw turns out,&8221; Leo said. &8220;We need some lucky breaks early on and have some people advance to later rounds and earn some points for us.&8221;

Leo&8217;s squad takes a boost of confidence into this year&8217;s tournament, having defeated the Lady Spartans earlier this season for the first time in seven years.

&8220;It was a tremendous confidence builder for our girls&8217; to win that match,&8221; she said. &8220;Any time you can beat the reigning state champion you can use that to you&8217;re advantage psychologically.&8221;

The Lady Eagles boast section champions at the No. 3, 4 and 5 singles spots going into state competition, but Leo said her squad will have to step up at every level.

&8220;Winning individual matches is important,&8221; she said. &8220;But winning the whole fight goes a long way toward getting a state championship.&8221;

The Lady Eagles get under way in the Class 6A state tournament at 8 a.m. on Thursday morning and conclude competition on Friday