Ardrey Kell’s boys’ tennis team hasn’t looked back since it fell 6-2 to Myers Park in its second match of the year. The Knights proceeded to reel off 14 consecutive victories, including an undefeated run through the So. Meck 8 to win the conference championship.
This was no small feat, but the Knights were head and shoulders above the rest of the league. Ardrey Kell (16-1, 14-0 So. Meck 8) finished the conference slate with a five-game lead over league rivals Charlotte Catholic and South Meck.
Winning the So. Meck 8 title was certainly a significant moment for the program, especially the seniors, who are on their third head coach in four years.
This is Jennifer McVicker’s first season as the team’s coach. McVicker, who has been at Ardrey Kell for seven years has coached several other sports. However, she is not a rookie when it comes to tennis. She played collegiately at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania.
Her experience and coaching have fit well with the players, making this season a special one for Ardrey Kell.
McVicker said the players bought into her philosophy, stepped up as leaders, worked hard, played with grit and have shown a love for the game. Tennis is an individual sport, but McVicker said the boys put the team first.
She and the players talk about the tradition they want to have and culture they hope to establish and cultivate within the program. Those things have been their primary focus.
A conference championship is certainly gratifying, but the players aren’t satisfied. They want more. Success can create an insatiable desire for more success, which is the case for the Knights. They want to build on their accomplishments. Ardrey Kell will get the opportunity to do that with regionals around the corner Friday, May 5 and Saturday, May 6.
“They’re keeping their eyes on the prizes,” McVicker said. “They’re eager to get ready to play. They like to compete.”
McVicker said the goal for Ardrey Kell the rest of the season is to play as long as it can. For that to happen, it’s a matter of surviving and advancing.