By: Butch Harmon
Girls tennis preview
By BUTCH HARMON
It took awhile to get outside because of the lingering winter conditions, but area tennis teams are now on the courts and in the middle of another challenging season of girls' tennis. Following is a look at how the tennis action is playing out this spring.
Top teams statewide: Grosse Pointe South, Clarkston, Bloomfield Hills
Grosse Pointe South is looking to reclaim the title it won in 2012. It returns plenty of talent, led by senior Brooke Willard. Clarkston has a loaded singles lineup, led by senior Lexi Baylis, who was runnerup at No. 1 singles last year, and sophomore Isabella Spindler, who was runnerup at No. 2 singles.
Top area teams: Midland Dow, Heritage, Rockford
Dow finished 10th in the state last season, and with plenty of talent back this year, it's primed for another big season. It has a solid singles lineup that includes players like Christina Auyeung, Caroline Szabo, Afua Ofori-Darko, and Elaina Parillo. The Chargers also have a solid cast of doubles players, led by the No. 1 team of Kamryn Matthews and Nicole Dobrzelewski. Heritage also has a solid team that features excellent singles players and depth in the doubles.
Top area players: Christina Auyeung, Midland Dow; J’Lynn Corder, Carman-Ainsworth; Kamryn Matthews, Midland Dow; Caroline Szabo, Midland Dow
Top teams in the state: Birmingham Seaholm, Marian, Forest Hills Northern
Either Seaholm or Marian has won three of the last four Division 2 state titles, with Marian winning last year. Seaholm returns plenty of talent this season, led by senior Labina Petrovska, while Marian also has plenty of talent back, led by senior Lauren Dietz, who finished second in the state last year at No. 2 singles.
Top area teams: East Lansing, Fenton, Mason, Okemos
Okemos has a number of talented tennis players returning this year from a team that placed fifth at the Division 2 finals last season. Junior Emily Struble won the state title at No. 2 singles last year. Junior Catherine Wingrove was an outstanding doubles player who moves to singles this year, while sophomore Kylie Wilkinson is another solid singles player who returns. Mason senior Abby Perkins has been one of the premier players at No. 1 singles the past several years. Last year, she reached the state semifinals. Sam Perkins, Abby’s younger sister, also returns for the Bulldogs. East Lansing returns a number of talented players from a team that placed second in the league last year, led by seniors Sarah Brainard and Emily Volovsek.
Top area players: Madison Ballard, Fenton; Sarah Brainard, East Lansing; Abby Perkins, Mason; Emily Struble, Okemos; Emily Volovsek, East Lansing, Catherine Wingrove, Okemos
Top teams in the state: Cranbrook Kingswood, Detroit Country Day, Allegan, Forest Hills Eastern
Cranbrook Kingswood has won the last three Division 3 state titles and are loaded for another title run this year. Senior Alexandria Najarian won the No. 1 singles title last year and is poised to repeat this year. Also returning is sophomore Anna Short, who won the state title at No. 2 singles. Allegan returns junior standout Livia Christam, while Forest Hills Eastern is paced by junior standout Madeline Bissett.
Top area teams: Haslett, Williamston
Haslett placed in the top ten at last year’s state meet, and with a number of talented players returning, the Vikings will again have a solid squad. Senior Shea Donahue made it to the state semifinals at No. 2 singles and returns to pace this year’s squad. Sophomore Hannah Vogelsang is back after reaching the state quarterfinals at No. 3 singles last year. Williamston finished sixth at the Division 4 state meet last year and makes the jump to Division 3 this season. The Hornets have a number of talented players back, led by the No. 1 doubles team of seniors Delaney Nikolai and Caitlyn Chick.
Top area players: Caitlyn Chick, Williamston; Sara Daavetilla, Williamston; Shea Donahue, Haslett; Delaney Nikolai, Williamston; Ashleigh Reinbold, Charlotte; Hannah Vogelsang, Haslett
Top teams in the state: Grosse Ile, Father Gabriel Richard, Traverse City St. Francis
Grosse Ile returns junior standout Brianna Riley and is looking to knock two-time defending state champion Academy of the Sacred Heart from the top spot. Gabriel Richard is led by senior Colleen O’Brien, who took second in the state at No. 1 singles. Sophomore Amanda Bandrowski is a returning state semifinalist at No. 1 singles for Traverse City St. Francis.
Top area teams: Frankenmuth, Hemlock, Lansing Catholic, Portland, Nouvel Catholic Central
Lansing Catholic placed seventh at the state meet last season. The Cougars have several talented players back, led by junior Calla Ramont, who reached the quarterfinals at No. 1 singles last year. Mary Curtiss is back at No. 1 singles for Nouvel. Hemlock returns a number of key players, including Jane Malott at No. 1 singles and Abbey Stemple at No. 1 doubles. Portland finished in the top ten at the state meet last year. The Raiders welcome back several veterans and will again have a squad capable of a lofty finish at the state finals.
Top area players: Katie Blake, Portland; Mary Curtiss, Nouvel Catholic Central; Jane Malott, Hemlock; Calla Ramont, Lansing Catholic; Abbey Stemple, Hemock