With five players who either were key contributors or gained experience a year ago, the Gahanna Lincoln High School girls tennis team is planning to post another winning season.
The Lions went 13-6 overall last fall and were runners-up in the OCC-Ohio Division at 6-1, behind Pickerington Central (7-0).
After opening with a first-round match in the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association tournament Aug. 12 against visiting Big Walnut, Gahanna plays Thursday, Aug. 14, at Olentangy Liberty and begins league play Tuesday, Aug. 19, at home against Groveport.
"I'm not expecting another 13-6 year, but this team is capable of winning 10 or 11 matches," coach Chris Schwinnen said. "Nobody is going to beat Pickerington Central in our league this year. I think we can definitely fight for second place, but Reynoldsburg, Pickerington North and Lancaster are all going to be really good again."
Senior Elizabeth Sullivan, who teamed with 2014 graduate Riley Crowe to reach the third round of a Division I sectional at Pickerington Central in doubles, was expected to play first singles in the opener.
Sophomores Kristen Zink and Kathleen McGuff also are expected to be key singles players. Last season, McGuff lost in the second round and Zink lost in the third round of the sectional tournament in singles.
Seniors Quezetta Brown, Kathryn Lee and Jessica Shapeka and junior Gabby Kalouche are other key players. Lee and Shapeka both contributed last season.
"I feel like it's been going really well," Sullivan said. "We've got a bright season ahead of us. All of the girls get along and we just work very well together. With the support system we have, we help each other out when we need to.
"There are probably four or five of us that are very close (in skill level), so we're constantly playing each other and helping each other get better."
The Lions lost a four-member senior class that was led by Rachel Zink and Emily Merickel. That duo finished third at sectional to advance to district for the second time in three seasons. They then lost in the first round at district.
In the second-place OCC tournament last season, the Lions scored 5 points to finish behind Olentangy Orange (18) and Dublin Coffman (17) and ahead of Dublin Scioto (4).
Gahanna lost to Coffman 5-0 in the second round of the OTCA state team tournament.
The other seniors were Crowe and Claire Slater, who lost in a first-round sectional singles match.
Rachel Zink is playing softball for Trine University in Angola, Ind.
"Obviously, we lost three four-year letterwinners who brought a lot of experience, as well as Claire Slater," Schwinnen said. "In each class it seems like I have four or five really good tennis players. We've got a lot of young girls, so we've got a good mixture of youth and experience. We've got some good talent."
Aug. 12 -- vs. Big Walnut in OTCA tournament
Aug. 14 -- at Olentangy Liberty
*Aug. 19 -- vs. Groveport
*Aug. 26 -- at Newark
*Aug. 28 -- at Pickerington North
*Sept. 2 -- at Reynoldsburg
Sept. 3 -- vs. Granville
*Sept. 4 -- vs. Pickerington Central
Sept. 8 -- at Hilliard Darby
*Sept. 9 -- vs. Lancaster
*Sept. 11 -- at Grove City
Sept. 13 -- Reynoldsburg Doubles Tournament
Sept. 15 -- at Dublin Scioto
Sept. 20 -- OCC tournament at TBA
Sept. 22 -- at Dublin Jerome
Sept. 23 -- at Hilliard Davidson
Oct. 1 -- vs. Westerville Central