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Loris High School’s Zoey Strickland (left) and Toni Bell are ready to play tennis during their senior season. Photo by Janet Morgan/janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com

The Loris tennis team is a tight bunch.

“It’s a lot different than the other sports I play,” said senior Toni Bell, who is also on the softball team. “It’s like we’re a family.”

The Lions are hoping that strong bond — and most of last year’s team returning — will lead to good results on the court this fall. In 2019, Loris reached the 3A playoffs but fell to No. 2 seed Waccamaw in the opening round.

“We still had a good season,” said third-year coach Tanner Sarvis. “I was very proud of them last year.”

Sarvis said this team has five returning players and a few new faces who should be good contributors. He has stressed to his team the importance of consistency and keeping a positive outlook. Amid the difficulties of the COVID-19 crisis, he said they are just grateful to be playing. 

“We’ve got a lot of enthusiasm,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing. The girls are definitely excited to have some sense of normalcy.” 

Bell, who has played since the seventh grade and was the team’s No. 1 player last year, said she wants to make the playoffs again.

“I hope we can accomplish that and I also hope we can grow stronger as a team,” she said. “And that we can build our team up more so that whenever me and the fellow seniors graduate, that the younger girls have a team to play with.” 

Zoey Strickland, who was the team’s No. 4 player last year, said there’s a certain pride that comes from representing a place like Loris. 

“It makes our team stronger because we’ve had this bond since a young age,” she said. “A lot of people on the team I’ve known my whole life, so it does make being on a team with them a lot easier. … It’s a lot more fun.”

Contact Charles D. Perry at 843-488-7236

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I'm the editor of myhorrynews.com and the Carolina Forest Chronicle, a weekly newspaper in Horry County, South Carolina. I cover county government, the justice system and agriculture. Know of a story that needs to be covered? Call me at 843-488-7236.

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