But after watching her team earn the No. 2 seed from Region 5AAAAAA, and advance to the second round of the Class AAAAAA state playoffs, Morgan feels the team surpassed any expectations she might have had.
“I was very pleased with the year,” she said. “They worked really hard and over-accomplished anything I could have asked of them for this year. I didn’t expect second in the region, but they pulled it out and worked hard.”
Morgan figured Etowah would be able to qualify for the state playoffs by finishing in the top four of the region, but second — behind only eventual state champion Walton — impressed her. In addition to the hard work her players put in, Morgan said the Lady Eagles benefited from a couple of early-season changes she made to the lineup.
For leading the team to unexpected heights Morgan is the 2014 Cherokee Tribune Girls Tennis Coach of the Year.
In the past, Morgan said the team struggled to find consistency across its lines, but this year was different.
“I really wasn’t sure how those lines would come out this year, but they did really well,” she said.
Morgan cited how much Etowah improved between the first time it played Roswell at the end of February, losing 4-1, and the second time the teams met in the region tournament, when the Lady Eagles swept to a 3-0 victory.
“Early in the season, I really wasn’t sure of my lineup,” Morgan said. “The second time, after a few matches, I knew what my lineup would be and easily took three lines from them. Normally, I know who I will play at singles right away and I have to find the order, but this time, an injured player factored into that, and I started her at doubles before moving her back to her singles spot.”
Looking toward next season, Morgan said the bar has been set higher for the Lady Eagles. They will only graduate one starter, and with a roster stocked with year-round players, she knows they will all come back improved next spring.
“I don’t really have any girls that just pick their racket up and January and put it back down in May,” Morgan said. “My girls know what I expect of them, and in the region that we are in, I can’t just pick someone that plays three or four months of the year, because they usually can’t play at a high enough level.”
Morgan said she expects to be at the top of the region next season and see the girls push even further into the state playoffs.
“I think we will have a really good team next year,” she said.