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2017 high school girls tennis preview

By: Warren Mayes


It’s deja vu all over for Patrick Huewe in high school girls tennis.

Huewe returns to lead the MICDS squad for the first time in 12 years. It will be his fifth year coaching the girls in all. Huewe has coached the boys’ teams all these years.

Last year’s Rams squad went 15-4 in duals and won the district tournament. MICDS finished third place at Class 1 team state tournament. Three state qualifiers return to play this fall.

Marquette has talented senior Ellie Lewis returning. Lewis was one of a doubles duo that finished third last season. She is the No. 1 singles player for the Mustangs.

Parkway Central three players back from last season’s Colts squad that finished third in the Class 2 state team tournament.

There are three new coaches in the area.

Mike Schaaf is entering first year as head coach at Lafayette. Katelyn McCreary takes over at Parkway West. Lauri Thompson is the new coach at Principia.

Here is a look at the teams that responded to requests for information in alphabetical order:

Incarnate Word Academy Red Knights

2016 record: 9-4. Won the district team championship. Qualified both doubles teams and singles players to the sectional. Lost to MICDS in team play. Qualified three players to the Class 1 state tournament. Maria Brandt, then a junior, finished 3-2 and was a seventh-place medalist and became the highest finished of any singles player in the history off IWA tennis. In doubles, seniors Genna Miller and Maura Engelhorn finished 3-1 and finished as third-place medalists. This also was the highest finish in the history of IWA tennis for either a singles or doubles team in the state tennis championships.

Coach: Bob Keefe. Entering second year as head coach. Coached 34 years at Belleville West.

Assistant coaches: None.

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

Players on team to watch for this fall: Senior Maria Brandt at No. 1 singles, junior Liz Goldstein, senior Claire Curtit, sophomore Lydia Dieckmann.

Newcomers expected to contribute: Senior Katie McDonough, sophomore Kate Slapshak.

Captains: Not named.

Players who have committed to college: None at this time.

Team strengths: Four returning starters out of last year’s top six players. Like the attitudes, work ethic and athletic abilities of several girls that are on the team this year. Many are short on competitive tennis experiences but the hope is midseason we can work on changing that.

Goals: A repeat performance from last year’s duals is reachable. Possibly pull off an upset or two along the way. Would like to win the district team championship and qualify everyone again to the sectionals. Hope to get a player or two or three up to state again this year as well.

MWAA teams: Cor Jesu, Incarnate Word Academy, Nerinx Hall, St. Joseph’s Academy, Ursuline Academy, Visitation Academy.

Favorites to win conference: St. Joseph’s will be difficult for anyone to beat this season. Too much returning and incoming talent.

Class 1 District 5 teams: Clayton, Incarnate Word Academy, Lutheran North, McCluer South-Berkeley, North Technical, University City.

Quote: “I am excited again to work with this group of girls again at Incarnate Word Academy,” Keefe said. “If the ladies continue to listen and learn I believe we can have another very good season. This is a very strong conference. I believe one of the toughest if not the toughest girls tennis conferences in the state of Missouri with many standout players. My hopes are to be competitive. To get better each week. To build confidence in their games. I am hoping to get the best out of their abilities each and every match to and to be at the top of our game by the end of the season. Then, we take our shot.”

Lafayette Lancers

Coach: Mike Schaaf. Entering first year as head coach.

Assistant coaches: Scott Beaver, Dave Hoffman.

Returning number of starters/state qualifiers: 5 starters. 0 state qualifiers.

Players on team to watch for this fall: Our whole starting six players.

Captains:Lauren Ferguson, Nina Ruan.

Players who have committed to college: None at this time.

Team strengths: Strong at doubles and the depth is incredible.

Goals: Win the conference and sectionals and make it to state as a team.

Suburban West Conference teams: Eureka, Fox, Lafayette, Lindbergh, Marquette, Mehlville, Northwest, Oakville, Parkway South, Summit.

Class 2 District 4 teams: Francis Howell, Lafayette, Marquette, Parkway Central, Parkway West, Westminster Christian Academy.

Quote: “I’m excited to get the season started,” Schaaf said. “We have a very deep team this year. Everyone has a great chance to contribute to our team goals. This year is all about the team. If we get an individual to make herself a standout star that will be a bonus. Here’s to a great year for the Lafayette Lancer girls tennis team 2017.”

Marquette Mustangs

2016 record: 14-4 in duals. Finished second in Suburban West Conference. Fourth in Parkway West Doubles Tournament “A” flight. Second in Columbia Invitational. No 1 double team of Ellie Lewis/Athena Zeng finished third at Class 2 state tournament

Coach: Matt Del Pizzo. Entering 16th year as head coach.

Assistant coaches: Alex Nelle.

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

Players on team to watch for this fall: Senior Ellie Lewis, No. 1 singles and doubles; senior Ellie Lewis, No 5 singles; sophomore Joycie Chang, No. 3 doubles; senior Sarah Clince.

Newcomers expected to contribute: Have added some strong players as well via transfers and incoming freshman.

Captains: Not named yet.

Players who have committed to college: None at this time.

Team strengths: Will be strong in our top three singles and competitive in the lower half as well. Doubles will be deep.

Suburban West Conference teams: Eureka, Fox, Lafayette, Lindbergh, Marquette, Mehlville, Northwest, Oakville, Parkway South, Summit.

Class 2 District 4 teams: Francis Howell, Lafayette, Marquette, Parkway Central, Parkway West, Westminster Christian Academy.

Quote: “So many top players graduated this past season that conference and districts will be a toss up,” Del Pizzo said. “It will depend on whose kids improved and if any teams got some top junior players.”

MICDS Rams

2016 record: 15-4 in duals. Won district. Finished third place at Class 1 Team State, Had fifth-placed doubles team at state.

Coach: Patrick Huewe. Entering fifth year as head coach of girls program.

Assistant coaches: Brad Heinemann, Phil Brotherton, Cameron Thomas.

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

Players on team to watch for this fall: Caleigh McClain, Lindsay Parks and Brooke Wright.

Captains: Lindsay Parks and Brooke Wright.

Players who have committed to college: None at this time.

Team strengths: Strong team mentality.

Goals: Improve with each match, compete for districts and make it to state.

Metro League teams: John Burroughs, Lutheran North, Lutheran South, MICDS, Principia, Westminster Christian Academy.

Favorites to win conference: John Burroughs.

Class 1 District 6 teams: MICDS, Principia, Villa.

Quote: “It has been 12 years since I’ve led the women’s team at MICDS and I’m looking forward to working with them this year,” Huewe said.

Parkway Central Colts

2016 record: 14-4 in duals. Won conference championship. Won district. Won team sectional Placed third as a team at Class 2 state tournament. Individually, sent doubles team Rebecca Davis and Elena Wilner to the state tournament where they placed fifth.

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

Assistant coach: Heather Beal.

Returning starters: 3.

Players to watch for this fall: Zoe Hahn and Michelle Korenfeld.

Captains: Mallory Horn and Zoe Hahn.

Newcomers expected to contribute: Freshman Akansha Negi.

Players committed to a college: None at this time.

Team strengths: Good personal dynamics within the team.

Goals: Have some fun, stay healthy, and continue to grow as a team.

Teams in Suburban Central Conference: Parkway Central, Clayton, University City, Ladue, and Parkway West.

Favorites to win conference: We feel like we have a chance but Parkway West and Ladue are always tough.

Class 2 District 4 teams: Francis Howell, Lafayette, Marquette, Parkway Central, Parkway West, Westminster Christian Academy.

Quote: “As a fifth-year coach at Parkway Central, I’m real excited to work with our new and returning girls,” Hays said. “We have the same tough district and schedule that we had last year. This will be a tough season and postseason. We are looking forward to another fun fall.”

Parkway North Vikings

2016 record: Finished second in districts. Qualified a singles player for state tournament.

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

Assistant coaches: Lorrie Crossett.

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

Players on team to watch for this fall: Senior Janel Dean at No. 1 singles.

Newcomers expected to contribute: 2 freshmen in Giselle Krikorian and Nishika Hegde.

Captains: Seniors Janel Dean and Anne Koo.

Players who have committed to college: None at this time.

Team strengths: Our strength is our mix of experience and youth. Quality students who are all committed to improve their game.

Goals: Win districts. Strive to improve throughout the season and have fun.

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

Quote: “I’m very excited for this season as we have a diverse group of competitive players ranging from freshmen to seniors,” Lefcourt said.

Parkway South Patriots

2016 record: Finished second in team district.

Coach: Nick Tanurchis. Entering 24th year as head coach.

Returning number of players: 5.

Players on team to watch for this fall: Sophomore Maggie Moore looks to return as the No. 1 singles player; Emily Xu, Emily Davis, Rebecca Holmes, and Danielle Mullen.

Newcomers expected to contribute: Amy Zhang and Adela Keller have also joined the varsity squad.

Captains: Not named.

Players who have committed to college: None at this time.

Suburban West Conference teams: Eureka, Fox, Lafayette, Lindbergh, Marquette, Mehlville, Northwest, Oakville, Parkway South, Summit.

Class 2 District 2 teams: Cor Jesu, Eureka, Lindbergh, Parkway South, Rockwood Summit, Ursuline Academy.

Quote: “The girls are having fun, working hard during practice, and ready for the season to begin,” Tanurchis said.

Parkway West Longhorns

2016 record: 11-4 in duals.

Coach: Katelyn McCreary. Entering first year as head coach.

Assistant coaches: Genie Hong, Danah McCreary, Kathy Smith.

Returning number of starters/state qualifiers: 2 starters.

Players on team to watch for this fall: Senior Sydnee Yap at No. 1 singles, sophomore Angie Jia at No. 2 singles.

Newcomers expected to contribute: Sophomore Charlotte Zera at No. 3 singles.

Captains: Syndee Yap, Angie Jia, Emily Lofgren.

Players who have committed to college: None at this time.

Team strengths: This is a young team but they are mentally tough and competitive.

Goals: Do well during the overall season and win the Parkway West Doubles tournament. It would be great to qualify for sectionals and state but we have a very competitive district and sectional.

Class 2 District 4 teams: Francis Howell, Lafayette, Marquette, Parkway Central, Parkway West, Westminster Christian Academy.

Quote: “I’m looking forward to my first year as the girls head coach,” McCreary said. “The varsity team this year is one of the hardest working teams I’ve coached. They are very competitive and always looking for ways to grow and learn. I’m excited to watch our doubles teams grow, especially Sydnee and Angie.”

Principia Panthers

2016 record: 6-4 in duals.

Coach: Lauri Thompson. Entering first year as head coach.

Assistant coaches: Terry McNabb.

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

Players on team to watch for this fall: Sophomore Aly Mikesell, senior Kate Hinds, senior Gabby Kitchingman.

Newcomers expected to contribute: Sophomore Becky Ritter.

Captains: None.

Players who have committed to college: None at this time.

Team strengths: Four students returning comprise strong core team.

Goals: Do well in duals.

Metro League teams: John Burroughs, Lutheran North, Lutheran South, MICDS, Principia, Westminster Christian Academy.

Class 1 District 6 teams: MICDS, Principia, Villa Duchesne, Visitation, Whitfield.

Quote: “I am excited to join as head coach,” Thompson said. “Principia always provides a wonderful opportunity for the girls to build on their strengths, improve, and to try new approaches.”

St. Joseph’s Academy Angels

2016 record: 17-4 in duals. Team won district. Qualified one for individual state in Class 2 singles. Ellie Burger finished second at state.

Coach: Doug Smith. Entering 20th year as head coach.

Assistant coaches: Laurie Franz, Cindy Tabscott.

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

Players on team to watch for this fall: Sophomores Lexie Woodman, Shannon Sims, Morgan Kane.

Newcomers expected to contribute: Freshman Abby Thurmer.

Captains: Morgan Kane, Paige Balota.

Players who have committed to college: None at this time.

Team strengths: Depth.

Goals: Reach Final Four at team state.

MWAA teams: Cor Jesu, Incarnate Word Academy, Nerinx Hall, St. Joseph’s Academy, Ursuline Academy, Visitation Academy.

Favorites to win conference: St. Joseph’s Academy

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

Quote: “Our matches for positions have been closer than ever, reflecting unusually deep balance,” Smith said. “So our lineup could possibly vary from week to week.”

Westminster Christian Academy Wildcats

2016 record: 2-6 in duals. Hattie Means placed third in Metro Tournament Flight 1 singles. Alicia Hu placed third in Metro Tournament Flight 3 singles.

Coach: Madeline Jolly. Entering second year as head coach.

Assistant coaches: Sharon Reilly.

Returning number of starters: 5.

Players on team to watch for this fall: Freshman Izzy Cancila will bring great depth to our team this year by sliding into the No. 1 or 2 singles position. She’s a very talented, well trained player and a joy to have on our team.

Newcomers expected to contribute: Freshman Izzy Cancila and junior Hattie Means leading our singles lineup.

Captains: Hattie Means and Maggie Kurop.

Players who have committed to college: None at this time.

Team strengths: Last year we had a very young team, with only one senior in our top six playing at No. 5. We will be returning five of our top six players and adding a very talented freshman at the No. 1 or 2 position.

Goals: Achieve a winning record in dual matches and send girls to state.

Metro League teams: John Burroughs, Lutheran North, Lutheran South, MICDS, Principia, Westminster Christian Academy.

Favorites to win conference: John Burroughs has the reputation of being the team to beat this year.

Class 2 District 4 teams: Francis Howell, Lafayette, Marquette, Parkway Central, Parkway West, Westminster Christian Academy.

Quote: “I am so excited to enter my second year as head coach at Westminster,” Jolly said. “We’re returning five of our top six and adding a lot of depth to our varsity team this year. I feel confident about our offseason growth and our increased strength this year throughout our entire lineup.”

Whitfield Warriors

2016 record: 7-5.

Coach: Peter Demos. Entering third year as head coach.

Assistant coaches: Peter Switzer.

Returning number of returning players: 8.

Players on team to watch for this fall: Last season’s No. 1 Brooke Berry will return to lead team with four seniors, five juniors and two sophomores.

Newcomers expected to contribute: Holly Baer, Madison Connell and Bella Suffian all have a potential to help our team especially in doubles as well as singles.

Captains: Not named.

Players who have committed to college: None at this time.

Team strengths: Experience, depth.

Goals: Improve on last season.

Conference: Independent.

Class 1 District 6 teams: MICDS, Principia, Villa Duchesne, Visitation, Whitfield.

Quote: “Our Whitfield tennis team will be better this year as we did not lose any of our top eight players to graduation,” Demos said. “Last season’s No. 1 Brooke Berry will return to lead our team. The team is confident that this season it can win more than seven dual matches this year. During preseason practices, myself and coach Peter Switzer have emphasized doubles skills as well as singles strategies and expect the skill levels and success of the team will rise. Brooke Berry is expected to have an outstanding season with a good showing at the district championships as well during dual and tournament matches. As an all-around athlete, Berry could improve her win-loss record from last year and hopefully qualify for sectionals as well as for state.”

 

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