CACC Tennis

Submitted / The Outlook The 2021-22 CACC tennis team poses for a team photo.

Central Alabama Community College women's tennis head coach Steven Corley is confident in his team’s prospects entering the 2021-22 season.

Returning four key contributors from last year’s squad, which finished 18th at the NJCAA national championships, the Trojans are after an even better result as their star players improve and five freshmen join to complement the more experienced core.

“The goals for the team this year would be to win the conference, qualify for nationals, go back out to nationals in the spring — which is in Tucson, Arizona this year — and the goal this year will probably, realistically, be a top 10 finish,” Corley said.

CACC is returning its number one player from last year in sophomore Kelly Martin.

One of just two athletes on the Trojans’ nine-player roster from outside the state of Alabama, the Melbourne, Australia native made nationals last season as the Trojans’ top singles competitor.

“We’ll expect big things from her this year,” Corley said. “She made it to the finals of the conference tournament and won last year, and fully expect her to contend again for the conference at number one again this year.”

Right alongside her as the team’s second qualifier for singles was Alyssa Vandiver, who comes back as CACC’s number two player for team competitions.

Both Martin and Vandiver lost in the first round at nationals last year and will be looking for better results to conclude this season.

Where they made their mark was as the Trojans’ top pair for women’s doubles, winning a match against a duo from Mississippi to reach the round of 16.

“She played two for us last year, and I expect her to have a good season for us again,” Corley said.

Sophomore Anna Woods is one of two returning starters from Russellville. She and partner Kaelyn Albright, who has since moved on from the program, reached the quarterfinals of the NJCAA women’s NTRP 4.0 doubles championships before falling to eventual national runners-up Momoko Yoshimura and Jadeh Chan in May.

Fellow Russellville product Morgan Strickland rounds out the team’s sophomore class. Last season she competed as the team’s number three singles player and teamed up with Ellie Hayes as the team’s second doubles pair.

“My four top players from last year are returning this year,” Corley said. “(Woods and Strickland) both played last year and did very well.”

There’s talent to be excited about with CACC’s new additions as well.

Freshman Jane League joins the outfit one year removed from a state championship run with Auburn High School.

The Tigers won the Alabama Class 7A state championship, with League serving as their number two singles player and half of their top pairing for doubles.

League and then-teammate Claire Bosman captured the No. 1 doubles state championship for Class 7A, the highest classification for high school girls doubles in Alabama.

Freshmen Emma McElwain, Blakely Valdez, Karsen Kelley and Lily Truchet round out the roster for the Trojans.

“We’re looking for them to just improve and learn to compete, give good effort, that kind of stuff,” Corley said. “We have a very good team this year, I believe, that will contend for the conference this year.”

CACC opened its season with a one-day round-robin tournament at West Alabama to knock the rust off and will continue its campaign at Mobile Oct. 1.

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