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Olympians, Bull Dogs again show girls tennis strength


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The Columbus East girls tennis team made a big breakthrough last season, snapping Columbus North’s seven-year sectional title streak.

The Olympians lost four of their seven regulars from that 16-6 team, but return their top two players in senior Ashlee Hasson and junior Megan Galle. Hasson, who has signed with Southern Indiana, went 19-3 at No. 1 singles in earning second-team All-State honors, while Galle went 21-0 at No. 2 singles.

“They both are healthy, and they look good,” East coach Cheryl McGee said. “They’ve been working all winter, and they’re solid. We still have a solid 1 and 2, and I think we’re pretty solid with our doubles.”

Senior Alexa Husmann-Miller returns at No. 1 doubles, where she will team with junior Susana Blanco, an exchange student from Spain. Senior Pooja Pandita, who played No. 2 doubles her first two years before sitting out last year, will play with junior Aneta Smidova, an exchange student from the Czech Republic.

“It’s been fun and interesting,” McGee said. “(Blanco and Smidova have) fit well with the team.”

Senior Lauren Fox and junior Shyanne Reynolds, both of which have played in a few varsity matches, are battling for the No. 3 singles spot. The Olympians also have nine freshmen playing this year.

“I think we’re going to be all right,” McGee said. “We feel pretty good about what we have. I think we’re going to have to work at some of these matches more than we did last year, but we’ll be fine. The girls are confident, and they’re good athletes.”

East will look to unseat Floyd Central as Hoosier Hills Conference champions.

“I’d like to get another conference championship,” McGee said. “We’d like to (go far in the postseason), but we have to first get out of the sectional. North has an outstanding new player coming in.”

Columbus North

The Bull Dogs return all seven regulars from a 9-15 team, including state qualifiers at No. 1 doubles in junior Sydney Anderson and senior Sara Vanderkolk. Vanderkolk, however, is recovering from mono and will miss the first part of the season.

North figures to receive a big boost from the addition of freshman Aubrey Smith. Smith will likely take over at No. 1 singles.

“She’s a fighter,” North coach Kendal Hammel said. “She’s played tennis all her life being around her brother and sister, and she’s going to be a nice player down the road. Everybody’s getting stronger and better and more experienced, I think we’re going to be a stronger — depth-wise — a much better team all the way through.”

Sophomore Paige Littrell, who played No. 1 singles last year, will likely be at No. 2 singles. Junior Meagan Olibo, who played No. 2 singles, will be at No. 3 singles or will play doubles.

Junior Alex Friend, who played No. 3 singles, and junior Rosemary Yonushonis, who played No. 2 doubles, could play either one of those positions. Junior Brooke Richardson also returns at No. 2 doubles and will likely play there until Vanderkolk returns.

“It’s early in the year, and we have some shuffling around to do, but I feel like we have an opportunity to compete for the Conference Indiana title,” Hammel said. “I think we have an opportunity to compete for sectional and regional titles. East has a strong 1 and 2, but we have a lot of depth. I feel like we can maybe get back into the rankings this year.”

Hauser

Six varsity players back return from a Jets team that went 6-9.

“We would like to do a little better than we did last year,” Hauser coach Elizabeth Rivers said. “Even though we’re a small school, I think we have a lot of talent.”

Senior Haley Webster returns at No. 1 singles. Senior Jordan Cain moves up from No. 3 to No. 2 singles, and junior Kaitlyn Yarling will step in at No. 3 singles.

Seniors Sydney Tallent and Clarie Romine return at No. 1 doubles, and juniors Erica Bostic and Kiersten Gross are back at No. 2 doubles. Junior Brook Knudsen could also see varsity action.

“It’s a great group of girls,” Rivers said. “They’re all well-behaved and have great attitudes.”

Jennings County

Veteran Panther boys tennis coach Deron Brown takes over the girls program. The team lost all three singles players and its No. 1 doubles team.

“We’re really inexperienced,” Brown said. “We have 11 girls that came out for the first time this year, so a lot of learning needs to take place, and I think they will.”

Senior Brittany Lykins and sophomore Elaine Lykins, who played No. 2 doubles, will likely move up to No. 1 doubles this season. Freshman Amy Gasper steps in at No. 1 singles, with freshman Avis McGovern moving into the No. 2 singles spot and sophomore Kristen Nottingham taking over at

No. 3 singles.

Junior Cassie Leach and

sophomore Hailee Harmon will begin the season at No. 2 doubles.

“My expectations for the year are to get these girls

experienced and build them for years to come,” Brown said. “I kind of apologized to the seniors, but I told the freshman if they stick together, they’re going to have something special in a couple of years.”

Brown County

The Eagles went undefeated in the regular season last year before falling to North in the sectional to finish 14-1.

Seniors Josie Gray and Whitney Williamson return at No. 1 and No. 2 singles from that team. Juniors Mary Kate McCann and Sarah Kurdziel split time at No. 3 singles and will play No. 3 singles and No. 1 doubles, respectively.

Freshman Elisabeth Huls and sophomores Corina Greiner and Ashley Pugh will be the other three doubles players. Junior Kylene Warne will also play in some varsity matches.

“Our seniors, we’re happy with their leadership,” Brown County co-coach Thom Milller said. “They’re doing a nice job working with the younger players. They’re motivating, and I like their work ethic. They work hard, and that’s a good example for the younger players.

“I’ve never had a harder-working group of players,” he said. “They definitely have a lot of work to do, but they’ve been putting in a lot of time in the offseason. I feel good about where we are right now, and I feel good about how far we’ve come with a young team.”

Edinburgh

There’s nowhere to go but up for the Lancers after going 0-11 last season.

Sophomore Lillie Parmer returns at No. 1 singles. Freshman Vanessa Hoskins, a move-in from Brown County, will play singles, and sophomore Miranda Burton, who played No. 2 and 3 singles, could play singles or doubles.

Sophomore Albani Brown, who played doubles, could play singles or doubles. Junior returners Baleigh Downton and Ashlyn Streebal will likely stay in doubles. Senior Abbie Young and freshmen Allie Schooler, Mikala Lain and Mariah Weddle could see time in the other varsity spot.

“We have a little bit of experience from last year and a lot of beginning players, and I think they’re going to do really well,” Edinburgh coach Rachel Matusik said. “I want to get the girls some experience and confidence within themselves as players.”

Seymour

The Owls will be seeking their third consecutive sectional title after going 16-5 and making the regional finals.

Junior Marley Vehslage will move up from No. 2 singles to No. 1 singles. Freshman Hallie Crenshaw will step in at No. 2 singles, and junior Kennedy Richart takes over at No. 3 singles.

Junior Karen Dringenburg returns at No. 1 doubles and will team with sophomore Emma Wood, who played No. 3 singles. Senior Payton Warren, who played No. 1 doubles, and sophomore Lindsay Hume, who played No. 2 doubles, will be at No. 2 doubles.

“I think we should be returning stronger and build on what we had last year,” Seymour coach Nathan Otte said. “We’re hoping to maybe compete for one of the top spots in conference this year. We should be strong.”

Trinity Lutheran

The Cougars will look to improve on a 2-14 record.

Senior Brennyn Pollert moves up from No. 2 singles to No. 1 singles. Sophomore Aurora Willman, who played doubles last season, will be at No. 2 singles, and sophomore Kelly Adams will play No. 3 singles.

Junior Shelby Nierman and sophomore Madeline Lucas, who played doubles last year, will be at No. 1 doubles. Junior newcomer Allison Hackman and senior newcomer Cassidy Prentice will play No. 2 doubles.

“It’s going to be a tough schedule for us, but we will do our best and look to improve everybody’s skill from last year and look to pull out three points,” Trinity coach Richard Pollert said. “Last year, we had two points in a lot of matches, and this year, we’re looking to get that third point.”

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