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Newton tennis squads eye return to playoffs

COVINGTON - Newton's tennis teams are mixing the old with the new as they head into the 2009 season.

The boys have three returning starters with two new players, while the girls return two players from last year's team that made it to the second round of Class AAAAA playoffs and two new players who should make an impact.

In his third year as the Newton boys coach, Andrew Clink has high hopes of making it back to the playoffs.

Newton, Union Grove, Luella and Stephenson made it out of Region 2-AAAAA to advance to the playoffs last season.

His reason for his positive outlook on the season are because of returners Donnavan White, Ayite Baker and Chris Williams.

"Donnavan, Ayite and Chris have improved their games since last year and they should be able to compete at the higher slots now," Clink said.

Joining the team this season are Mark Mote and Gavin Gates.

"They are both juniors and have shown some good potential," the Newton coach said.

Clink plans to make Mote, White and Gates his singles players with Baker and Williams positioned as No. 1 doubles.

"The No. 2 doubles team is still up in the air," Clink said.

If Clink is to guide the boys to their goals of winning region and making it past the first round of the state playoffs, he knows that the team will have to get past Union Grove and Luella.

Also making its presence known in the region this year is Greenbrier.

Last season Greenbrier made it to the second round of the playoffs in Class AAAA.

After making it to the second round of the state playoffs last season, the Newton girls do not have any reason to think the same won't happen this season.

"We hope to continue to be successful, improve the games of our players and, hopefully, return to the state playoffs," first-year coach Michael Bryan said.

Also advancing to the playoffs last season were Luella, Union Grove, Lithonia and Greenbrier, who was the No. 4 seed from Region 3-AAAA.

Giving Bryan hope are returning players Holly Springer and Christine Augusta and newcomers Alicia King and Desire' Hines.

"We lost all but two members of the varsity team (last season). Alicia King and Desire' Hines should fill in nicely and several key members of last year's junior varsity team should contribute," Bryan said. "Desire' should be a good addition at singles. We need for Alicia to play well at doubles, though we are still working on finding the right combinations for our doubles teams."

Joining Hines, who will play No. 3 singles, on the singles side of the court are Springer and Augusta who will be Newton's No. 1 and No. 2 players.

"We have about 10 players who could end up in the doubles mix," Bryan said.