March 15th, 2013

Previews: Girls' and boys' tennis

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor


Previews: Girls' and boys' tennis
Sacred Heart's Katherine English celebrates winning the 2012 doubles title with Caitlin Hanley

St. X vying for fifth consecutive team title...

GIRLS' PREVIEW

Sacred Heart is loaded and ready to make another run deep into the state tournament, but this year it wants to go even further.

“We want to win state as a team,” said head coach Kristen English, whose team bowed out last year with a loss to Lone Oak in the semifinals. “Our lineup will change this year a little, but we have some very strong players who have improved quite a bit, such as sophomore Ashley Hammons and junior Abbey MacMillan.” 

Caitlin Hanley and Katherine English won their second straight doubles title for the Valkyries last year. Hanley is gone, but sophomore Mary Elaine Kuo and junior Erin MacMillan return after advancing to the doubles semifinals.

Caroline Walter, who made it to the state quarterfinals last year, also returns as Sacred Heart’s top individual.

At Assumption, new head coach Spencer Moorman will help the Rockets try to regain the state crown they won in 2011.

Moorman returns a handful of talent, including Abbie Mather, who finished second in the regional, and Hallie Pennington and Carolyn Morris, who advanced to the state tournament’s round of 16 in doubles.

At Presentation, Kelsey O’Bryan will attempt to qualify for the state tournament for the third consecutive season; she bowed out in the second round in 2012. Ellie Smith, Olivia Wagner, Kelly Schneider and junior Ellen Denham also return.

Mercy lost four key players off last year’s team that finished 5-8 and will have to rebuild under first-year head coach Ryane Smith. The Jaguars have a new core of freshmen and sophomores, and Danielle Yancey, Kate Jakoby, Elizabeth Greer, Abbie Higgins and Brittany Snook are back.

Holy Cross lost three seniors but returns Rachel Young, last year’s top player. Joining her again will be Alley Kuerzi and Abby Ellis. And head coach John Wood has high hopes for newcomer Brittany Bernhagen, who played field hockey in the fall.

“Brittany Bernhagen is a senior and is an all-around good athlete,” Woods said.

Bethlehem returns everybody from last year’s 5-8 squad that won the Midland Conference Tournament.

BOYS' PREVIEW

St. Xavier  lost some firepower off last year’s state championship tennis team, but it has the biggest gun around back in 2012 individual state champ Sean Donohue.

In order for the Tigers to be successful in their chase for a 22nd state crown, they will have to fend off other strong contenders, including a deep Trinity squad. Also looming are DeSales, Holy Cross and Bethlehem, who all are looking to improve.

St. X head coach Kerry Lancaster will have to find replacements for Alex Gorne, Joe Siame and Daniel Miller, but in Donohue he has the school’s first individual state champion since 1997. And Brandon Lancaster, who is ranked as the 66th best sophomore in the country, also is in the Tigers’ arsenal.

So are doubles partners Parker Thieneman and Zachary Kuo, who made last year’s state tournament semifinals.

Trinity has everybody back but Tommy Ruggiero. Doubles partners Emerson Walsh and Randy Strause return and will help the Shamrocks in their quest for a fifth consecutive regional title.

“The Rocks are working towards the ultimate goal of a state championship,  and this year we have the talent and leadership to accomplish our goal,” head coach Chris Mather said.

DeSales returns five players and hopes to build off a 4-5 campaign last year. Its only loss is Johnathan Gardner.

Holy Cross returns Eric Mackin, who had a 4-2 record last year, and Derrick Davis. The Cougars lost no key members.

Bethlehem went 5-8 last season and will have to replace four seniors, but Erza Surtees and Adam Rogers are back.

 

 

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