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NH seeks to keep tradition going
Spring sports preview: Girls' tennis
April 02, 2008 | 08:38 AM
North Harrison has dominated the Harrison County girls' tennis season for several years. In the previous 13 opportunities, the Lady Cats have taken the county tennis tournament honors. The Lady Cats appear strong again, but Corydon Central and South Central have loaded up on numbers and Lanesville is pushing to take that next step within its program.
Tennis at Corydon Central is seeing a boom in numbers. The young program is up to 25 girls, a number coach Jeff Smitley likes in a program trying to continue strengthening.
"Some have played tennis for several years, and some are coming out for the first time," Smitley said.
The team lost individual regional qualifiers in doubles tandem Bethany Shewmaker and Jill Hoehn to graduation. Replacing the duo will be key. Junior Jorie Newell will take her shot at the No. 1 singles position.
Another pair of juniors, Catherine Freiberger and Kylie Hall, will also be looked upon for leadership on the court. Freshman Heather Uhl is also making strides and could see plenty of court action.
"The girls are having a good time," Smitley said. "It's good to have this many girls showing interest."
A few weeks into practice, coach Sharon Rothrock is excited about the prospect of the upcoming season.
"We have a new philosophy this year," she said. "It's all about team. From court one to court five, we will be there for each other."
The team members are working hard early on improving their footwork and swing. After a great off-season, Rothrock has been pleased with the conditioning. They are going through practices constantly conditioning. Instead of sweeping balls off the court, for conditioning purposes, they are running them down.
Junior Caroline Turcotte and senior Nicole Melton are the likely No. 1 and No. 2 singles players.
"They are both good players," Rothrock said.
Senior Heather Cooper will be in the mix on the doubles court. Several freshmen with junior high playing experience will see action on the doubles court with Cooper.
The courts in Ramsey are packed with balance and talent. Strength is in the sophomore and junior class, but first-year coach Sheri Shroyer is emphasizing the team concept.
"We expect a lot out of our individuals and as a team," she said. "We're taking on the concept of winning as individuals for the team, moving the focus to succeeding as a team."
Wynn Shroyer heads into the early part of the season at the No. 1 singles player, followed by Maggie Cassidy filling the No. 2 spot. From there, spots are open, but Shroyer feels doubles are fairly strong because the talent level is consistent from top to bottom.
The Lady Cats have had a stranglehold on the county bragging rights, winning the Harrison County Tennis Tournament for 13 consecutive years. They will host the county meet on April 19, looking to extend the streak.
South Central coach Kara Bailey has a ton of depth to work with heading into the season. A deep squad of 15 girls make up the Lady Rebels' team, including five returning seniors.
The seniors are joined by four foreign exchange students who came out to play their first year of tennis. Bailey is excited about an athletic base of freshmen and sophomores who fill out the team.
"I look forward to the season with the five seniors," Bailey said. "They've all played four years. I hope they make their senior year one to remember and one that shows the hard work they put in for four years."
Working around spring break and the plethora of spring rains, Bailey said figuring out who will play singles and doubles is still up in the air. One thing Bailey hopes happens is other teams fill out junior varsity matches so the younger players gain more court experience.
"Most of the girls played over the summer two to three days a week," Bailey said. "They are pretty dedicated and certainly put in the time and effort."