St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes boys’ tennis Coach Kinde Taye was not sure what to expect from his team entering the season.
The Saints had won just two total matches in his first season in charge, but were welcoming two talented freshmen, Chase Cohen and William Clark, to a team that already had Oberlin-bound senior Camron Cohen.
Bolstered by the stronger lineup, St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes concluded its season Friday night as the runner-up in the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division I tournament at Collegiate School’s Robins Campus in Henrico, Va. The seventh-seeded Saints, who lost 5-3 to top-seed St. Christopher’s from Richmond, finished with a 13-6 record and is the best team the school has had in the past 10 years, according to Taye.
“Frankly, I did not expect to go this far,” Taye said. “But the kids, every game, stepped up and showed the competitiveness that I had never seen before. In the final, which could have gone our way, it was too close. But I was happy with the result and I was happy with the kids’ performance.”
The Saints picked up victories form Clark at No. 3 singles, junior Matthew May at No. 4 singles and sophomore Christopher Rainey at No. 6. The team defeated third-seeded Potomac School, 5-4, in the semifinals for another unexpected victory and was a finalist in the Interstate Athletic Conference tennis championships earlier this month.
“Overall, for me as a coach, it was eye-opening,” Taye said. “I now know what to expect and I know what the competition is like and we’ll be ready. We’re trying to fix what we did wrong, but overall, the season for me was really, really successful, and for the kids too. I know the kids will be pumped up for next year.”