PERKINSTON — No. 16 Mississippi Gulf Coast begins defense of its MACJC/Region 23 women's tennis championships Thursday when this year's tournament starts in Meridian.
The Lady Bulldogs won their first state championship since 1987 last year. They're 9-1 in conference play this year, and a midseason lineup change has them pointed in the direction of a title defense.
"We switched No. 3 and 4 with Megan Bankston and Tierney Holmes," Gulf Coast coach Gary Bourgeois said. "They just found their homes in the new positions. They're undefeated since we made the change, and they're more comfortable."
Holmes (Fr, Greenwood/Greenwood) moved up a spot, which suits her attacking style. Bankston (Fr, Gulfport/Gulfport) has used her counterpunching style to great effect at No. 4.
Bourgeois also paired them together at No. 2 doubles, and they haven't lost since.
Postseason tournaments are different from regular-season dual matches, but the Lady Bulldogs are among the favorites in the three-day event. They have some bumps and bruises but are in relatively good shape for the end of a grueling season.
"I think it's going to come down to us, Jones and maybe Co-Lin," Bourgeois said. "Meridian playing at home is very dangerous. I think 1, 2, 3 are pretty even, so it's going to come down to the bottom of the lineup."
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