Inexperienced Lee Williams team opens season

Lee Williams’ No. 1 Peyton Cardiff runs down a ball during Tuesday’s practice at Centennial Park. The Volunteers open the season when they host Northland Prep at 3 p.m. today at the park. (SHAWN BYRNE/Miner)

Lee Williams’ No. 1 Peyton Cardiff runs down a ball during Tuesday’s practice at Centennial Park. The Volunteers open the season when they host Northland Prep at 3 p.m. today at the park. (SHAWN BYRNE/Miner)

KINGMAN - In order for a program to become a powerhouse there must be growth, and the Lee Williams High boys tennis team has grown from four players a year ago to 16 on the courts to open this year's season. Lee Williams hosts Northland Prep at 3 p.m. today at Centennial Park.

It's the inaugural season for the Vols varsity team with only three players who have any playing experience. While earning wins may prove difficult, Lee Williams and boys tennis coach Traci Rosenbach will find a way to have fun.

Tuesday's practice was light-hearted, but at the same time the Vols were serious about learning the game of tennis and getting better.

"I'm excited to see the potential in this group of boys," Rosenbach said. "It's exciting to teach these boys the game from scratch, and most of them are picking it up quickly."

Juniors Peyton Cardiff, Elmer Correa Devin Arnett, Kyle Henson and Brandon Sahawneh, along with freshmen Parker Taylor and Braden Spencer, are battling it out for the six varsity singles spots.

Cardiff appears to have secured the No. 1 position for the Vols. Cardiff would have been running track, but he transferred from Kingman where he ran track last year and has to sit out a year. He's taken the opportunity to learn another sport.

"Tennis is a lot of fun," the junior said. "I'm pretty good at ping pong, so I've transferred the spin from there. I've got the concept."

Rosenbach appreciates how quickly Cardiff has grasped the game and would like to see him compete in both tennis and track next year when he's eligible to return to that sport.

"Tennis seems like it's going to be at least a fun hobby when I get older," Cardiff said. "That could change, but I'm way more skilled at running."

Whichever way the season goes for the Volunteers, Cardiff is appreciative of the social impact his new sport has made in his life in just the few weeks he's been playing.

"I've met some new friends with people who I may not have become friends with if not for tennis," Cardiff said.