Coming off one of its best seasons in over a decade, the Lady Greenback tennis team looks to build on last year’s success with 14 girls taking to the courts for 2013. Losing no players to graduation, the outlook is extremely bright. Returning coaches Larry Kahmeyer and Tate Thompson are looking to develop the girls’ skills with the goal of making a deep run in the postseason.
Leading the way for the varsity are seniors Lauren McClain and Dani Williams, who last year compiled a 28-10 record and earned a 10th place medal in doubles at the state championship tournament. McClain is looking to make her fourth state appearance in as many years. After earning a berth in singles as a freshman and sophomore, McClain paired up with Williams in doubles and was able to bring home state hardware in 2012. Unfortunately, McClain is currently without Williams, who is nursing an injured left wrist.
“As bright as our season looks – we do have a few storm clouds on the horizon,” said head coach Larry Kahmeyer. “Lauren and Dani were working hard this summer and looking forward to a fantastic season. Right now, things are in limbo. At a minimum, Dani will miss our first meet at Lyons and probably the next one at Hillsboro, too. She’s got to get cleared to play, but I’m still hopeful that she can join Lauren on the court as quickly as possible. It’s a big hole in our roster while she’s out. Lauren can always successfully jump back to singles, but it’s not exactly what we had planned.”
Junior Jade Hoover, after some dedicated off-season work, returns even stronger after an impressive 27-2 season. If McClain stays with doubles, Hoover will take the reigns at the #1 singles position, replacing departed senior Adele Loomis, who opted to run cross country in preparation for a collegiate career.
“From what I’ve seen so far, Jade is much improved,” said Kahmeyer. “She’s hitting harder with more angles on her shots. Jade got a lot of mileage out of consistency last year, and if she can add some power and aggression to her shots, she can have an amazing year.”
Fellow juniors Allicia Hall and Elee Hampton round out the returning varsity players after gaining valuable experience on the way to a 19-9 record last season.
“Allicia and Elee grew up quickly last year,” commented Kahmeyer. “They were thrust into a varsity situation early and responded well. They fell short of a state appearance last year, but I know that’s in their sights.”
Looking to join the varsity ranks are juniors Ellie Brehm and Madi Mayberry. Both have extensive junior varsity experience and will figure prominently in the varsity picture.
Page 2 of 2 - “Ellie’s hitting form is sharp for the beginning of the season,” said Kahmeyer. “I see her filling in at a #2 spot and being competitive. And Madi has done well at singles in JV. I’m not sure what combinations we’ll be using, but as long as Dani’s out, Ellie and Madi will have a role.”
Providing leadership for the junior varsity, senior Taylor Moreland competes for her fourth year.
“Taylor put a lot of things together last year and grew by leaps and bounds. It’s great to have her on the roster and I’m proud of her effort,” said Kahmeyer.
Rounding out the roster are returning sophomores Lizzie Amaro, Hazen Hance, Eadie Monaghan and Cassie Van Slyke who all earned junior varsity experience last year. Throwing their hats in the ring are freshmen newcomers Keisha Briggeman and Ciara Hodgkinson.
The Greenbacks first varsity action is this Thursday at the Lyons Quad at 3 p.m.