EATON — The Lady Eagles tennis team took down Valley View 5-0 on Thursday, Sept. 10, but the most consequential detail from the match was where it took place.
Thursday’s match was the first to take place on Eaton’s brand new tennis court, approved for competition just hours before the Eagles took the court.
Funded entirely by private donations, the tennis complex, which features six courts in the school’s signature purple shade, is the latest addition to Eaton’s athletic facilities.
“It was with the generous donations of folks in our community that we’re able to have this, so we’re very, very appreciative and very proud because it’s an outstanding set of courts,” Eaton athletic director Travis Miller said.
Construction began on the courts in late summer with work wrapping up on Wednesday, Sept. 9, less than a day before the Eagles would first take the court.
“They were working on it [Wednesday] as a matter of fact,” Miller said. “We got the architect signed off on everything and allowed us to have our match today. So, literally [Thursday] morning, we got the go ahead that we could have a competition there.”
Eaton coach John Hitchcock said that the girls were very excited to play on the new court.
“So much so that you just wondered if they were gonna worry about playing actual tennis vs. being out here,” he joked. “It’s been a long time coming, so it was exciting for them. Glad they got to do it, especially for our seniors.”
As for the match, the Eagles swept all five courts and continued their dominant run this season.
“Valley View was a nice opponent to play,” Hitchcock said. “They’ve got a good group of girls. Feisty, similar to [Preble] Shawnee, come ready to compete. Skill wise, you know, we’re in a position where we’re a little bit stronger than them from a tennis standpoint, but you still gotta go out and play the matches, and if the other side’s not intimidated or worried about that, then you still gotta take care of your business.”
The Eagles are off to a 12-1 start this season after their win against Mariemont on Saturday, Sept. 12, but Hitchcock warned that there’s a long way to go this season.
“We’re not in the toughest part of our schedule yet,” he said. “I mean, the Mason [loss] was kind of somewhat expected. But yeah, we’re kind of where we thought we would be.”
Hitchcock also believes that the residual boost from playing on a new home court will carry over for “quite some time.”
“Being a new territory, it’s still kind of getting used to the lay the land, seeing how things play, wind and all that but yeah, I think they’ll really enjoy being up here,” he said. “I think they kind of feel like this was the last complex to finally get added to campus, so they kind of feel like they’re part of it now.”
With COVID-19 casting a shadow over the fall sports season, with the thought at one point that fall sports might not even happen, Miller said that its great to see the girls out there playing on the new court.
“With some of the things that are going on, this is a real – not only with the way our girls have been performing this season, which is great to have them out there playing tennis, but then also to be able to open this up, it’s it’s really exciting,” he said. “It’s good stuff.”
The next feature of Eaton’s athletic facilities will be a practice field located next to the tennis courts. Miller said that grass has been sown and they’ll be looking to work on it next fall.
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles