Warriors tennis team lacks home-court advantage

Oct. 10, 2010 at 5:10 a.m.

For the past month, the Victoria West tennis team has been pushed off campus.

Their home courts weren't finished on time and are still under construction. At least the fences were up by Sunday; the past few weeks there had just been a set of poles around. The surface is set and needs to be striped and needs nets installed.

But completion of the courts has been delayed several times.

"We've been told two weeks again, so we hope it's soon," West coach Lauren Janak said. "We hope it's soon, so Cade Middle School can get out there and practice, too."

In the intervening time, the team has been practicing after school at the VISD courts on the Memorial campus.

Their home matches, including Thursday's against Victoria East, have been at East's courts, which are completed but lack basic amenities like a grandstand and covered area for players before and after matches.

And it's taking its toll.

"We really wanted to play on our courts for our home game," said senior Garrett Gomez. "I think the courts are going to be the same. They are just going to be a different color."

Janak said that being on familiar ground at Memorial has given the team a sense of comfort.

"It's kind of reassuring because they've practiced there for the last couple of years," she said. "We haven't been able to play any matches there because we need a trainer on site when we do play."

The Warriors' first home match of the year, against Floresville, was also moved to the East tennis courts.

"It wasn't great for a first match. We didn't come out on top," Janak said. "But I think that helped them coming out here having played on the courts already."

The West team, however, won its "home" match against East.

"Today, it was easier for them having already played here," Janak said during the East-West match.

The East courts aren't much better. They're completed, but there's no seating for any of the parents or the teammates. The ground around the courts is still rough and uneven and difficult for anyone watching the teams.

But, as East coach Crystal January put it, it could be worse.

"We're lucky," she said. "They have to travel to practice. We're glad that it's easier to practice, where the kids can come out and play instead of having to waste time traveling."

Some of the Titans players and parents are doing something about it. Tennis players will be selling burgers, chips and baked goods at Victoria East from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday in order to buy covered seating for players.

"They really do need it," said Jerri Hudson, a parent of the East players. "There were a lot of sunburns early in the year. It didn't matter how much water they had.

"The sooner we can raise the money, the quicker we can get it."

John Hornberg covers Victoria East and West for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him by e-mail at jhornberg@vicad.com, or comment on this column at AdvoSports.com.



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