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High school girls tennis preview

It’s time to hit the courts for another high school girls tennis season.

Always strong Lafayette has gotten stronger with the addition of Caroline Puzo. The sophomore finished second in Class 2 singles play at the state tournament last fall. She has transferred from St. Joseph’s Academy.

Coach Donna Stauffer also has senior Abby Carpenter, a two-time state qualifier, back. Carpenter has verbally committed to play at Eastern Illinois.

Coach Mary Nahm believes she has one of her strongest ever teams at Incarnate Word Academy. The Red Knights won their district last season and have three starters back, along with a talented freshman newcomer in Martia Brandt.

Marquette coach Matt Del Pizzo has four starters back from last year’s 11-4 squad.

Parkway Central’s Lee Hays is entering his second season with the Colts and he would like to be as successful as his debut campaign. The Colts went 12-3 and won the conference championship. He has six girls back from the team.

St. Joseph’s Academy is always involved in the postseason competition and this year should be no different. Coach Doug Smith’s squad went 13-2 last year and won the district tournament. He has three state qualifiers back.

Westminster Christian Academy went 15-4 in duals last year and won the district tournament. Coach Adam Barbee has six girls back from the team for his second season leading the Wildcats.

Here is a look at the teams in alphabetical order:

 

Incarnate Word Academy Red Knights

2013 record: 15-4; First place in Flight 3 of Parkway Doubles tournament. Swept district taking first and second place in both singles and doubles. Qualified a doubles team for state.

Coach: Mary Nahm. Entering 17th year as head coach.

Assistant coaches: Mike Baetz and Bob Reid.

Returning number of starters/state qualifiers: 3 starters. 1 state qualifier.

Players on team to watch for this fall: Junior Jocelynn Horton who continues to be top player on the team, sophomore Genna Miller whose game has really taken off, and senior Katie Winkler who continues to impress us with her skill and tenacity on the court.

Newcomers expected to contribute: Freshman Maria Brandt, who is a wonderful addition to the top of the lineup.

Captains: Seniors Ericka Scott and Katie Winkler.

Players who have committed to college: None.

Team strengths: This is the one of the strongest teams IWA has had in years. The lineup is dominated by underclasswomen.

Goals: We would love to get the team to the state tournament. With the move to Class 1, we’re facing many new opponents.

Teams in MWAA Conference: Barat Academy, Cor Jesu, Nerinx Hall, St. Joseph’s Academy, Ursuline, Whitfield.

Favorites to win conference: Too early to tell.

Quote: “The girls have been working really hard and bonding well,” Nahm said. “I am excited to see them in there first competition. With the talent and spirit I have seen so far, this season may be one for the IWA record book.”

 

Kennedy Celts

2013 record: 8-6. Kennedy finished second in conference, Kennedy came in second place in the AAA Tournament only one point behind Rosati Kain.

Coach: Erica Argue. Entering third year as head coach.

Assistant coaches: Rob Taylor.

Players on team to watch for this fall: Seniors Megan Angelbeck, Shannon Fogarty, Mari Clerc; juniors Ellen Lister and Caroline Ziegler.

Captains: Not named.

Players who have committed to college: None.

Teams in AAA Conference: Bishop DuBourg, Duchesne, Kennedy, Notre Dame, Rosati Kain, St. Dominic.

Class 1 District 6 teams: Kennedy, MICDS, Principia, Villa Duchesne, Westminster Christian Academy, Whitfield.

Quote: “Kennedy graduated eight seniors in May,” Argue said. “However, we have the biggest freshmen turnout in many years. Some of these players, along with the returning juniors are potential varsity players. The coaches are very excited about the Kennedy tennis team this year.”

 

Lafayette Lancers

2013 record: 16-3.

Coach: Donna Stauffer. Entering 16th year as head coach.

Assistant coaches: Scott Stauffer, Scott Beaver. Have Dave Hoffman and Micael Shelton for the prep squad as have 104 players out.

Returning number of starters/state qualifiers: 4 starters. 1 state qualifiers.

Players on team to watch for this fall: All of them for different reasons. Certainly we feel the team will be led by Caroline Pozo, who was the runner-up in Class 2 singles last year when she attended St. Joseph’s Academy; and Abby Carpenter, a two time state qualifier. Returning varsity players Marlo McElroy, Courtney Trube and Erica Mange will all contribute heavily to the success of our team.

Newcomers expected to contribute: Freshmen Nina Ruan, Nicole Tang and Lauren Ferguson have shown great promise so far and all have tournament experience that should make their transition into high school tennis successful.

Captains: Seniors Abby Carpenter, Courtney Trube and Erica Mange.

Players who have committed to college: Abby Carpenter has made a verbal commitment to Eastern Illinois

Team strengths: Our players are committed to the team and to tennis. They are confident and responsible. These players have a great respect for the game and we know they will play their best throughout the season. It is a great group of girls to coach.

Goals: Same as always – win our conference, district, sectionals and state. We also want to place as many individual players in the state tournament as possible.

Suburban West Conference American Division: Eureka, Lafayette, Lindbergh, Marquette, Parkway South. National Division: Mehlville and Northwest, Oakville.

Favorites to win conference: We hope it’s us but several other teams are very strong, especially Marquette.

Class 2 District 6 teams: Eureka, Lafayette, Marquette, Parkway South, Parkway West, Summit.

Quote: “The coaches are excited about what we have seen from all of our players so far and look forward to a great season.,” Stauffer said. “It is a challenge to work with over 100 players, but we think it is fantastic to have so many girls who want to play tennis. I believe we have an outstanding group of players and that we will do everything we can to achieve our goals as a team and as individual.”

 

Marquette Mustangs

2013 record: 11-4. Finished second in district. Qualified one singles player in state tournament and she finished fifth.

Coach: Matt Del Pizzo. Entering 12th year as head coach.

Assistant coaches: Alex Nelle, Ashley Bonine.

Returning number of starters/state qualifiers: 4 starters. 0 state qualifiers.

Players on team to watch for this fall: Sophomores Athena Zeng and Alia Arif, juniors Lauren Milburn and Hetty Bai and anchored by seniors Maddie Diedrich and Emily Terrebonne.

Newcomers expected to contribute: Sophomore Sarah Salinas, freshman Ellie Lewis.

Captains: Not named.

Players who have committed to college: None.

Team strengths: Lots of depth. Very well balanced, probably the most well balanced team we have ever had.

Goals: Compete for a conference title and district title and try to get some girls to state.

Suburban West Conference American Division: Eureka, Lafayette, Lindbergh, Marquette, Parkway South. National Division: Mehlville and Northwest, Oakville.

Class 2 District 6 teams: Eureka, Lafayette, Marquette, Parkway South, Parkway West, Summit.

Quote: “We are extremely excited for the season,” Del Pizzo said. “All the girls have greatly improved and we added two really strong players with freshman Ellie Lewis and sophomore Sarah Salinas.”

 

Parkway Central Colts

2013 record: 12-3. Suburban South Conference Championship. Won district championship. Qualified two individuals for state competition.

Coach: Lee Hays. Entering second year as head coach.

Assistant coach: Heather Beal, entering first year as JV coach.

Returning starters: Six.

Players to watch for this fall: Elena Wilner and Rebecca Davis.

Players committed to a college: None.

Team strengths: Depth and cooperation focusing on team success.

Suburban Central Conference National Division: Clayton, University City, Ladue, Parkway West and Parkway Central. American Division: Maplewood, McCluer South-Berkeley, Jennings, Affton and Normandy.

Favorites to win conference: There is no point of reference with a new conference with a new format.

Class 2 District 5 teams: Francis Howell Central, Francis Howell North, Fort Zumwalt East, Parkway Central, Parkway North, Pattonville.

Quote: “As a second year coach at Parkway Central, I’m real excited to work with a returning young talented group of girls,” Hays said. “We are building on last year’s success with all players returning. Last year we had five freshmen and one sophomore. Practices so far have shown adding one year has been very positive. We are looking forward to the season.”

 

Parkway North Vikings

2013 record: 11-6. Won our division of the conference tournament. Qualified a singles player for state tournament.

Coach: Ron Lecourt. Entering 15th year as head coach.

Returning number of starters/state qualifiers: 3 starters. 1 state qualifiers.

Players on team to watch for this fall: Bianca Gavaller, a very talented junior who has been to state once in doubles as a freshman and once in singles as a sophomore.

Newcomers expected to contribute: Freshman Janel Dean, a strong player who will play #2 behind Gavaller

Goals: Our goal as always is to improve as the season progresses and to have fun along the way.

Suburban XII Conference North Division: Hazelwood Central, Hazelwood East, Hazelwood West, McCluer, McCluer North, Riverview Gardens. South Division: Kirkwood, Parkway North, Pattonville, Ritenour, Summit, Webster Groves.

Class 2 District 5 teams: Francis Howell Central, Francis Howell North, Fort Zumwalt East, Parkway Central, Parkway North, Pattonville.

Quote: “We are inexperienced this year,” Lecourt said. “We’ve got a great group of motivated girls who love to play and we’re looking forward to a successful season.”

 

Parkway West Longhorns

2013 record: 7-9 in duals. Freshmen Claire Martin finished fourth in singles at districts.

Coach: Jason Townsend. Entering 11th year as head coach.

Assistant coaches: Katelyn McCreary and Lewis Conley, who will also be a special assistant, but will be gone for most of the season as he is working as a line judge at the U.S. Open in New York.

Returning number of starters: 4 starters.

Players on team to watch for this fall: Sophomore Claire Martin, sophomore Ava Larsen, junior Vericia Pearson and senior Stephanie Quoss.

Newcomers expected to contribute: Fresman Sydnee Yap.

Captains: Not selected yet.

Team strengths: We are a very young team, but there is some very athletic talent there if we can stay healthy.

Goals: Our goals this year are a winning record in duals and a strong showing at districts.

Suburban Central Conference National Division: Clayton, University City, Ladue, Parkway West and Parkway Central. American Division: Maplewood, McCluer South-Berkeley, Jennings, Affton and Normandy.

Favorites to win conference: Parkway Central and Clayton, who should both be very tough competition.

Class 2 District 6 teams: Eureka, Lafayette, Marquette, Parkway South, Parkway West, Summit.

Quote: “I am not really sure what to expect from us this fall,” Townsend said. “We have looked pretty good in practice so far, but we are not very experienced. We are going to work very hard in practice. Our success lies in paying attention to small details and outworking our opponents. We expect Claire to hopefully qualify for sectional this year and we will also be keeping an eye on newcomer Sydnee Yap.”

 

St. Joseph’s Academy Angels

2013 record: 13-2 in duals. Won three tournaments. Won district. Qualified one singles to state in Caroline Pozo, who took second; and a doubles team to state in Ellie Burger and Olivia Conway who finished third.

Coach: Doug Smith. Entering 17th year as head coach.

Assistant coaches: Laurie Franz, Cindy Bick.

Returning number of starters/state qualifiers: 3 starters. 3 state qualifiers.

Players on team to watch for this fall: Seniors Olivia Conway and Ellie Helton at No. 1 and 2 singles.

Newcomers expected to contribute: Seniors Nikki Tracy, Maddie Stieven, Ellie Gorman and freshman Morgan Kane.

Captains: Olivia Conway and Ellie Helton.

Players who have committed to college: None.

Team strength: Depth. Gone are last year’s No. 1 and No.5, and No. 2 is ‘iffy’ while she heals up from hip surgery. Fortunately, however, five seniors still remain of the seven girls who made the varsity as freshmen in 2011. They will form the nucleus of this year’s team.

Goals: Making it to State and winning it are St. Joseph’s perennial goal. Historically, this has often been a reasonable objective, but this year it will be tough in light of solid squads especially at Kirkwood and Lafayette.

Teams in MWAA Conference: Barat Academy, Cor Jesu, Nerinx Hall, St. Joseph’s Academy, Ursuline, Whitfield.

Favorites to win conference: St. Joe will probably be considered the better favorite, but an improving Cor Jesu should be a contender.

Class 2 District 3 teams: Gateway, Ladue, Nerinx Hall, St. Joseph’s Academy, Visitation Academy, Webster Groves.

Quote: “I’m not so much excited about this season as I am curious to see how this group of seniors meets the challenge of having lost our top two players from last, both of whom would have been sophomores this year,” Smith said. “One of the seniors was a point guard on last year’s basketball team which started slowly but gained traction as their season progressed and ended up taking third place at state. My call to this year’s tennis team is to try to follow suit, build throughout the season, and make another bid for state.”

 

Westminster Christian Academy Wildcats

2013 record: 15-4. Won district.

Coach: Adam Barbee. Entering second year as head coach.

Assistant coaches: Sharon Reilly.

Returning number of starters/state qualifiers: 6 starters. 0 state qualifiers.

Players to watch for this fall: All of our seniors, especially Madaline Ross at No. 1 singles. Also, junior Emily Stevenson at No. 2 singles.

Captains: Seniors Madaline Ross, Sarah Betz, Sarah Jane Fiala.

Players who have committed to college: None.

Team strengths: Seven of the 12 girls are seniors so there’s plenty of experience playing high school tennis. The team has lots of depth.

Goals: Do well in duals, especially in doubles play

Teams in Metro League: John Burroughs, Lutheran North, Lutheran South, MICDS, Principia, Priory, Westminster Christian Academy.

Class 1 District 6 teams: Kennedy, MICDS, Principia, Villa Duchesne, Westminster Christian Academy, Whitfield.

Quote: “This is a great group of girls,” Barbee said. “There is lots of team spirit and camaraderie. They have very good attitudes and they have solid, consistent tennis skills.”

 

Whitfield Warriors

2013 record: 10-7. Sophomore Grace Klutke took first place in district singles and was undefeated regular season and MWAA first team all-conference.

Coach: Jill Starr. Entering sixth year as head coach.

Players on team to watch for this fall: Sophomore Grace Klutke.

Captains: Not named.

Players who have committed to college: None.

Team strengths: A strong, deep team.

Teams in conference: Independent.

Class 1 District 6 teams: Kennedy, MICDS, Principia, Villa Duchesne, Westminster Christian Academy, Whitfield.

Quote: “We will be in the Parkway West doubles tournament this year and hope to do well,” Starr said.

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