On the hunt for their eighth consecutive Henlopen Conference Championship, the Caesar Rodney Riders are well on their way to accomplishing that feat improving to 7-0 on the season after a 5-0 victory over Smyrna on Wednesday.
Freshmen Halle Parker continued her strong freshmen campaign with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Smyrna’s Morgan Brady at 1st Singles. Senior Sloan Barton was victorious at 2nd Singles Wednesday, topping Morgan Popovich 6-1, 6-2, and sophomore Hannah Morris cruised past Mackenzie Thompson 6-0, 6-1 rounding out singles play.
“Halle has done a terrific job this season and has met all of my expectations so far,” said CR head coach Zach Taylor. “She has a great passion for the game and I am looking forward to seeing what she can accomplish not just this season, but in years to come. She’s only scratched the surface of her potential and she’s a great kid. Sloan and Hannah are also having great seasons and I expect that they will contend for state titles again this season.”
While the singles players have been nearly perfect, the same can be said for the Lady Riders’ 1st and 2nd doubles teams this season.
The 1st Doubles duo of senior Caroline Bennett and freshmen Caroline Pangle stayed undefeated as a team this year winning their sixth matchup as a team over Smyrna’s Leah Blair and Gretchen Farrow, 6-1, 6-0.
Meanwhile, another senior/freshmen combo, Jessica Ament and Clare Mangubat, continued their undefeated streak with 6-1, 6-3 win over Jacey Young and Payton Zopler.
Now, nearly halfway through their regular season schedule the Lady Riders have dominated the competition winning all seven of their matchups this season 5-0 including sweeping Smyrna on Wednesday. Also, for the time being CR stands atop the entire state trailed closely by Middletown and St. Thomas More who both hold 6-0 records.
“So far, the team has met all my expectations and I’m pleased with how we’ve started the season,” said Taylor. “You never really know what you have until you get into the state tournament, so we spend most of the season trying to anticipate and work on the shots that we’ll need.”
CR has been able to mold their program around a mixture of veteran and underclassmen talent, and this season is no different.
“The older girls have been playing to form and the younger girls have gained some valuable experience,” Taylor said. “The weather this season has been a hindrance, but I expect our girls to continue to work hard and be ready for the challenges that the state tournament presents.”