by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi
The players may be newbies to the sport but the Lancaster High School girls tennis coach is an ole’ pro and has high hopes for the school’s newest athletic program.
Indian Creek Yacht and Country Club’s decorated and veteran director of tennis/head pro George Christoforatos is coaching the Lady Devils team. His team of nine players includes two seniors, three juniors, three sophomores and a freshman, all newcomers to the sport.
“Three years ago when I started at Indian Creek, I realized Lancaster and Northumberland and many of the Northern Neck schools didn’t have a tennis team,” said Christoforatos. “I reached out to all the schools locally. Some got back to me and some didn’t and I kept basically harassing them. Lancaster and Northumberland stuck with it and I’m very proud of them. This is something I really want to see happen.”
Christoforatos brings to the position 14 years of high school coaching experience at James Monroe High School in Fredericksburg. He is also the owner of Fredericksburg-based Paragon 5 Star Tennis Academy. He has received numerous accolades and awards including being named the United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Faculty Coach 2016, the USPTA Mid-Atlantic Pro of the Year 2016 and the High School Coach of the Year for 2010 by the USTA Mid-Atlantic Region. The Free-Lance Star named him the high school coach of the year seven times during his tenure at James Monroe, where he led the boys tennis team to the Battlefield District championship from 2006-2019 and the regional championship six out of eight years from 2012-2019.
“My personal goal is to have every school in the Northern Neck [District] have a tennis team,” said Christoforatos.
Northumberland High School has also started a tennis program this year and shares the practice and home courts with Lancaster at ICYCC. The two schools run drills together in practice even though they will compete against each other. NHS has a full girls team and four boys playing. Lancaster only has a girls team this year but Christoforatos hopes to develop a boys team next year.
“The group of girls I have is all beginners,” said Christoforatos. “So this is brand spanking new to me to have all beginners. And they are learning everything from serving to keeping score.”
Although LHS lost it’s opening match, 8-1, to Mathews, “we won because we’ve broken the ice. I consider this team a winning team this year no matter what. It’s exciting to watch them learn and play and give 110%,” said Christoforatos.
Playing in Lancaster’s number one spot is sophomore Jocelyn Hasson, who has only been playing seven months and is improving daily, according to Christoforatos.
The team also includes seniors SemaJ Coleman and Jenascia Henderson, juniors Chrissy Bowers, Ella Posey and Mar’Lecia Williams, sophomores Sarah McGee and Jada Jeffries and freshman LaShawda Laws.
Lancaster will compete this season against Northern Neck District teams Rappahannock, Essex and Northumberland and will play Tidewater teams Mathews, West Point and Middlesex.
April 11 at Rappahannock
April 13 at Essex
April 20 at Mathews
April 21 at Northumberland
April 25 at West Point
April 27 at Middlesex
May 2 Northumberland
May 4 at Rappahannock
May 6 Northampton
May 9 Essex
May 11 at Northampton