The Tavares High School boys and girls tennis teams are on a roll. The Bulldogs’ girls team improved to 8-0 record following a 7-0 win on Thursday’s match against Mount Dora and the boys moved to 5-1 with a 5-2 win.

MOUNT DORA – The Tavares High School boys and girls tennis teams are on a roll.


The Bulldogs toted a 7-0 record into Thursday’s girls match against Mount Dora and the boys sported a 4-1 mark onto the Lincoln Avenue courts against the Hurricanes.


And both teams went out and proved neither was a fluke.


The girls team blanked Mount Dora 7-0, while the boys outlasted the Hurricanes 5-2.


“We’re having a good time this year,” said Tavares coach Jordan Talmadge. “We have some decent talent and depth – my top four girls players have been with me for four years now – and we’re playing with more confidence with every match we win. They’re getting to play against some pretty good competition because every team in Lake County seems to have some decent players, especially at the top.


“Right now, we’re working to get ourselves ready for the district tournament.”


The Bulldogs compete in Class 2A-District 7, along with their rivals in the Golden Triangle – Eustis, Mount Dora, and Umatilla – along with Leesburg and The Villages. In addition, Tavares also has to compete against Orange County private school powerhouses Orlando Bishop Moore and Orlando Lake Highland Prep.


Talmadge said local schools often struggle to perform in the postseason, particularly over the past decade, because it’s more difficult to compete against their Orlando-based counterparts, partly because both schools have a much larger footprint from which they attract students. Not only that, but the number of tennis courts in Orlando and Orange County offer more opportunities to compete.


Simply put, Talmadge feels student-athletes in Orange County have more opportunities grow their mastery of the game.


“It’s tough to compete against them,” said Talmadge. “But, our kids won’t back down. They give it their best shot. They work hard at practice and play hard during matches.”


High-school tennis is played on the same-size court as those at the U.S. Open and Wimbledon, and the equipment is similar to that used by their professional counterparts. Aside from that, however, it is much different game from tournament tennis.


For starters, only one set is played, with the winner being the first to win eight games. There are five singles matches and two doubles matches in a competition, and players are often paired off by their varying skill levels.


The best players for each team is placed at No. 1 and the top two players are often paired together at No. 1 doubles. To achieve an overall win, a team must win four of the seven matches.


No referees are assigned to matches; players are expected to make line calls and keep track of the score.


“It teaches our kids lessons they can use in adult life,” said Talmadge. “They learn how to communicate better and to be honest and responsible. It’s also an activity they can play for their entire lives.


“I used to play basketball and football when I was a student at Tavares, but I can’t play either sport like I used to. Now, I play tennis. As I get older, I might switch to pickle ball, but I’ll probably always play some form of tennis.”


Talmadge said he hopes to see his girls and boys teams perform well and enjoy success at districts later in the year. But, if they don’t, he’ll still be on hand at districts, cheering on any north Lake County team which might make a deeper run than his teams.


“I really want to see a team from Lake County perform well at districts,” said Talmadge. “It’s going to be tough, but anything can happen when these kids get out there and start competing. It’s been a long time since a team or player from here did really well like that, so I really want to see someone representing the area.


“That would make it an already nice year even better.”


Singles winners for the Tavares girls team against Mount Dora included: Hannah Pait, Karley Paulling, Noelia Rodriguez and Tita Medina. The Bulldogs also won one match in a walkover.


Doubles winners for the girls were: Pait and Lina Filkin at No. 1 doubles, and Paulling and Rocio Mancilla at No. 2.


For the boys, Tavares got wins in singles play from Cole Singer, Michael Imbrenda and Kannon Paulling. Logan Cerney and Singer teamed up to win at No. 1 Doubles for the Bulldogs, and Imbrenda and Paulling picked up a win at No. 2 doubles.


Mount Dora got wins in singles play from Pierce Hogue and Cole Climo.