School name: Caesar Rodney
Head coach: Zach Taylor
2013 record: 14-0
Key returning players: Sloan Barton, Hannah Morris, Caroline Bennett
Key newcomers: Halle Parker, Caroline Pangle
Season outlook: Winning has become common place for the Lady Riders’ tennis squad. Last season, the Lady Riders won their seventh straight Henlopen Conference title. And while they’ll be without standout Sarah Canderloro, Ashley Pappas and Bethany Williams whom all graduated last season, CR still plans on fielding a formidable squad. With expectations always high for Caesar Rodney some new leaders will immerge ready to continue the Riders’ winning ways. Sloan Barton, Hannah Morris and Caroline Bennett have already been considered key parts of the Riders’ squad, however this season they will be leaned upon as the senior leadership. Barton and Morris return as defending conference champions at 2nd and 3rd singles with both likely moving up a spot. Bennett will return with a new partner at 2nd doubles after placing second in the conference championships last season, while Jessica Ament and Elena Ramos will return at 2nd doubles. Even without some key pieces from last season, the Lady Riders are used to plugging in new athletes and each and every season they continue to not miss a beat.
Coach's quote: “We expect to contend for both conference and state titles. We have a good combination of experienced players and young newcomers who are eager to make an impact.”
School name: Dover
Head coach: Devon Wilson
2013 record: 7-3
Key returning players: Sage Cole, Emma Patterson, Abby Jawahar, Lauren Hilderbrand
Key newcomers: Chloe Tackett
Season outlook: The Dover Senators girls’ tennis team impressed last season finishing 7-3 in the tough Henlopen Conference that features the dominate Caesar Rodney Riders. Entering the 2014 season, like every other squad in the conference the hill to climb is topped by the Riders. The Senators have some returning players who look to put a damper on the Riders long run at the top, including 1st singles standout Abby Jawahar who finished second in the conference last season. Along with Jawahar, Lauren Hilderbrand looks to step up from 3rd Singles while Sage Cole and Emma Patterson will defend their conference title at 1st doubles. While they still may not be on par with the Riders, the Senators may be the best hope to dethrone CR at the top of the conference.
Coach’s quote: “We finished the last two seasons in the #2 spot, so I expect for us to do one better this year. We have all the talent in place to ascend to the top spot. I am looking forward to an amazing tennis season. “
School name: Polytech
Head coach: Patricia Collins
2013 record: 0-11-1
Key returning players: Tillie Geyer, Chelsea Becton, Cierra Becton
Key newcomers: Lauren Mullins, Julia Balcerak
Season outlook: After a lackluster season in 2013, the Polytech Panthers girls’ tennis squad is hoping to start the turnaround of their program with a better effort this season. With some returning talent, the outlook for the Panthers this season is an optimistic one. As a young squad last year, the Panthers went through some growing pains, going winless aside from a weather-shortened contest against Lake Forest to end their season. This season, the Panthers enter another year older led by seniors Chelsea and Cierra Becton who will fill out the 1st and 2nd Singles spots. Meanwhile, Tillie Geyer should reclaim her spot at 3rd Singles. Underclassmen Mary Besong, Taylor Turner, Makayla Messick and Alli Wishin should make up the Doubles teams for the Panthers. While they likely won’t contend for the conference, the Panthers have some young talent that could surprise. This season may not be all about winning, rather than growing the school’s program.
Coach's quote: “The outlook for this season is very optimistic. With the returning talents of Tillie Geyer and the other team members I expect that Polytech will have a very good season this year.”
School name: Lake Forest
Head coach: Lyndsey Wyatt
2013 record: 4-8-1
Key returning players: Casey Melvin, Coralys Lazano, Kia Bivans, Jordan Fair, Jessica Sullivan
Key newcomers: Morgan Case, Callie Cochran, Natalia Cruz-Castanos, Tessa Ellis, Aubry Lonski, Brittany Rugg
Season outlook: The girls’ tennis program at Lake Forest continues to grow, as they enter the 2014 season with an extremely deep roster of talent. After a 4-8-1 record last season, the goal for Lake Forest is to get above .500 and they just might have the group to do it. While the Lady Spartans will be without graduating senior Macheala Huber at 1st Singles, Lake Forest has plenty of young talent ready to step up. Seniors Caroline Melvin and Kia Bivans should hold down the fort at 1st and 2nd Singles respectively, while Sara Hernandez-DeJesus should contend for the 3rd Singles spot. Coralys Lozano-Reyes will look for a new partner at 1st Doubles after the graduation of Miranda Goldthwaite, while Jessica Sullivan and Jordan Fair will continue to grow at 2nd Doubles. With the Lady Spartans’ roster growing from a year ago there will be plenty of healthy competition for open spots. And Lake Forest is hoping that competition will breed some success in the form of wins that can help them make some noise in the conference this season.
Coach's quote: “We are hopeful to have a winning record this year since we aren’t having to have many varsity changes. My goal since I took over this team is to get to a .500 record; I would like to beat that this year!”
School name: St. Thomas More
Head coach: Julie Murphy
2013 record: 9-3
Key returning players: Danielle Ruczynski, Meghan Murphy, Maria Sadusky, Sunzuray Salas, Kelley Northam, Caroline Kozack, Jennifer Krushinskie
Key newcomers: N/A
Season outlook: The St. Thomas More girls’ tennis team finished an impressive 9-3 last season thanks to a young group that perhaps overachieved. Now, many of those young athletes will be seniors ready to help the Ravens take the next step toward competing at the state level. The Ravens return possibly all of their players at major positions this season. Maria Sadusky returns at 1st Singles, Danielle Ruczynski returns at 2nd Singles, and after opening some eyes as a freshman Kelley Northam returns at 3rd Singles. While the Ravens Singles players return intact this season, the same can be said for their Doubles teams as well. Meghan Murphy and Sunzuray Salas will return at 1st Doubles, while Caroline Kozack and Jennifer Krushinskie will team up again at 2nd Doubles. Another season together will no doubt benefit the Ravens this season as they look to duplicate their success from last season.