By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
and Rob Kiser
Piqua Daily Call
TROY — The Troy tennis team may be bringing back five of its players from last year’s squad.
But the Trojans will have a completely new-look lineup this coming season, with the graduation of their top two singles players causing the lineup to be shuffled so that players could move their way up. Even so, Troy will still have many of the same goals as it enters play in the newly-formed Miami Valley League this fall.
“It’s going to be an interesting year,” Troy coach Mark Goldner said. “We lost Katie Sherrick and Hailey Taylor, but we’ve got the rest back — but when you lose your No. 1 and 2 singles and everyone else has to move up, it’s a new experience for everybody. We may not have anyone in the same position that they were in last year this season.”
Like last year, though, the Trojans will have a pair of seniors occupying the top two spots. Kit Wolke, who played first doubles last season, will move up to first singles, while Mackenzie Nosker, who had previously been third singles, will move up to second.
“Right now, it looks like Kit Wolke is going to play No. 1 and Mackenzie Nosker is going to play No. 2,” Goldner said. “And then we have three girls, one will play third singles and two will play first doubles, and we’re still kind of working out who will be who.”
Those three girls are junior Cady Rhea, who played first doubles with Wolke last season, sophomore Esha Patel, who played second doubles last year, and junior Danielle Robbins, a JV player last year.
At second doubles, junior Kylie Ayers, who lettered last season and will be back in the same position, and junior Maggie Wannemacher will see time, with freshman Josie Romick vying for time, as well.
“We’ll see how Josie works in, if she gets some time on varsity or mostly plays JV, but she has shown some promise,” Goldner said. “We’ve only got 11 girls out, with junior Mallory Nosker, sophomore Madelyn Logan and freshman Katie Berke also out.
“We really don’t have many girls back in the same position. Kit and Mackenzie have both improved, but it’s going to be an adjustment for them. Esha moving possibly from second doubles to first doubles, Danielle was a JV player possibly playing first doubles. Danielle and Cady are pretty close right now, so in the next few days we’ll get third singles worked out. Kylie at least has some experience at doubles, and Maggie was a JV player last year, so she’ll be getting her feet wet. Everyone will have to learn their positions this year, but we’ll bring them along.”
And when it comes to play in the MVL’s Miami Division, things will likely be tough. The division will be comprised of five of the six members of the now-disbanded Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division: Troy, Tippecanoe, Piqua, Greenville and Butler. Last season, Tippecanoe, Greenville and Butler all shared the division championship with 9-1 records, with Troy in fourth. Sidney moved to the MVL’s Valley Division with Stebbins, Fairborn, Xenia and West Carrollton.
“Tipp and Greenville are both loaded this year,” Goldner said. “They’ve pretty much got everybody back. Those two teams, I think, will be the class of the league. But we’ll have our hands full no matter who we play.
“We’re playing Eaton, which has three sisters that are pretty good, Alter, which is one of the better teams in the Dayton area, and Fairmont. We’ve got our work cut out for us, but you’ve got to play some good people outside of the league and get exposed to that level of competition. The girls have been working hard. They listen and try everything, and I’m sure they’re looking forward to getting going.”
Even with all of the changes, though, the goals remain the same.
“We always have the goal to win the league,” Goldner said. “We’ll try to finish as high as we can, try to finish in the top 10 in the Dayton area, and try to get someone to the district tournament. Last year, we didn’t have anyone get to districts, which was a little disappointing to me because I thought we would, but hopefully it will work out this year.
“It’s going to be difficult with everyone in new positions, but the girls’ attitudes are all good. They’re working hard, and that’s all you can ask for.”
PIQUA — Bonnie Davis and Kyla Starrett return to the coach the Piqua girls tennis team.
The top singles players will be newcomer Arabella Partee, a sophomore, and returning players in senior Alexa Knorr-Sullivan and sophomore Izzy King.
“We are very excited about all of our singles players this year,” Starrett said. “We just finished up some challenge matches to determine the placement of our girls.”
Skylar Cain and Cassie Arnett will lead the doubles players.
“Bonnie and I are very excited to see our returning first doubles team out on the court for another solid year,” Starrett said.
It will be Piqua’s first year in the Miami Valley League.
“We are thrilled to play all teams in the MVL, but we are especially excited to play Sidney and Troy,” Starrett said. “In addition, Fairborn and Xenia matches are always competitive and involved.”
Piqua will continue to look for improvement.
“Our goals are always to keep progressing and keep learning,” Starrett said. “We hope to take away more wins than last year and get stronger as a team.
TIPP CITY — With all three singles players back from last season — a season that saw the team in a three-way tie for the final Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division championship — the Tippecanoe Red Devils look to already have an advantage as they enter play in the Miami Valley League.
Which suits the Devils just fine.
“Our goal this year is to be the first team from Tippecanoe to bring home the team trophy in the new Miami Valley League,” sixth-year Tippecanoe coach Kaci Matthews said. “It is always competitive within our league and will take our girls focusing each and every match and playing their hardest to accomplish this goal, but I know my girls will rise to the challenge.”
Juniors Amelia Zweizig and Dakota Schroeder both return, as does sophomore Mira Patel. The trio was first, second and third singles last season, respectively, with all three earning all-league honors. And in doubles, senior Rainey Messenger — also an all-league honoree — and sophomore Katy Schultz will be competing for spots with a host of other doubles players.
“We have all three of our varsity singles players returning from last season. We have a fairly young team this year, but one with a lot of varsity experience,” Matthews said. “Our team is full of great leaders and a lot of girls who make tennis their priority throughout the year.
“It is a coaches dream to say that no matter who we put on the court for doubles, we are going to be competitive in every match we play this season. We have a lot of players who have put in the work this offseason who will be competing for varsity spots. Challenge matches are going to be very competitive and will help decide our doubles teams this season.”
WEST MILTON — With a lineup full of returning players, the Milton-Union Bulldogs are looking to retake the top spot in the Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division this season.
Last year, the Bulldogs were unbeaten during the regular season in division play, but Preble Shawnee was able to sneak past them during the league tournament and claim the SWBL Buckeye title.
“In the league, we will hopefully be 5-0 like last year and take the league during the tournament,” said Milton-Union coach Jenny Fox, who will be entering her second season with the team. “We want to be SWBL champions and have players make it to districts again, if not state.
“Our schedule changed some this year with some tough teams added in. We look forward to the overall schedule, but Tippecanoe is always a favorite that is looked forward to playing.”
Sophomore Taylor Falb is back after qualifying for the district tournament as a freshman, and Meredith Fitch returns after qualifying for district in doubles alongside graduate Hannah Fugate. Laura Billing will also return after a year away from tennis, and those three players will make up the Bulldogs’ singles lineup. Emma Lehman, Madison Silveira, Paige Barnes and Amelia Black — all of whom saw significant action last year — will also return and play doubles.
SIDNEY — Tim Ungericht’s Lehman Cavaliers will have a relatively new look this season as he enters his fifth season as the girls coach, with the team only returning one letterwinner from last year.
Senior Angela Brunner is back after qualifying for the district tournament in doubles last year. Senior Ann Deafenbaugh and sophomores Mary Lins and Taylor Reineke bring back the only other varsity experience, with seven new players competing for the remaining three spots.
“Angela will be our first singles player this season,” Ungericht said. “She has worked hard this summer, and our goals for her are to have a winning season and make a return trip to districts. We have seven new players, and most of them played volleyball last year and are good athletes.”
With the Cavs not playing in a league during the regular season, Ungericht’s goals for the team focus on individual improvement for the new players — and a return to districts for Brunner.
“Our expectations for this season are to get some wins, improve and grow as a team and get Angela back to districts,” he said. “It’s a building year, as we lost six seniors to graduation — all of which were varsity letterwinners last year.”
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter. Contact Piqua Daily Call Sports Editor Rob Kiser at email@example.com.
©2019 Miami Valley Today, all rights reserved.