After a record-setting season, the Central Crossing High School girls tennis team hopes to pick up where it left off.
The Comets finished 7-10 overall a year ago, setting a program record for wins. They return three letterwinners in seniors Kristen Chandler and Brooke Cosgray and junior Savannah Kovacs.
"We finished last season with seven wins in dual matches, which was a record for the (program)," said coach Neil Hohman, who is in his fifth season. "We're always looking to improve on that number and be competitive in our league and move up the league standings."
Senior Ashley Fyffe and juniors Tara Thomas and Mackenzie Wallace will battle for varsity positions. The team also includes sophomores Michelle Massey, Kailee Morgan, Cammie Price, Sophia Semchishin and Margaret Wright and freshmen Jessica Dines, Jordan Falk and Marlie Griffith.
"The strength of our team will be in our team (approach)," Hohman said. "We don't appear to have any one dominant player, so the girls competing in practice will need to be working to push each other to improve. We have started to develop a program where we have consistency and the girls enjoy being around each other and playing the game."
Last year, the Comets finished seventh (8 points, 1-6) in the OCC-Central Division behind champion Upper Arlington (80, 7-0).
Unlike in the past when dual matches and the league tournament were combined to determine which team scored the most league points, this year's OCC-Central title will be earned by the team with the best dual record. The first-place teams in each of the four OCC divisions will play Sept. 21 at a site to be announced to determine the overall league champion. The second-place teams also will have their own tournament, as will the third-place teams, and so on.
"The end of the season OCC tournament should be interesting with a switch in the way it's organized," said Hohman, whose team opens Tuesday, Aug. 20, with a league match at Olentangy Liberty. "It should provide for some interesting, fun matches to watch."
Last year, 2013 graduate Hannah Gabriel lost a district-qualifying match to Watterson's Courtney Brown 6-0, 6-0 in a Division I sectional at Pickerington Central.
Senior class to lead Grove City
A strong senior class has taken an early leadership role for Grove City.
The Greyhounds have five seniors in Molly Brown, Nicole Burris, Rachel Henricksen, Taylor Shawver and Katie Swartzentruber.
"Our senior girls have helped out a lot," said coach Dan Witteman, who is in his 28th season. "Taylor and Katie are co-captains and I think they will do a good job. They have been very helpful. They stick around (after practice) and help out when we need them."
Junior Vicki Rohr also has varsity experience, and junior Lauren Singleton is looking to move up from junior varsity. Sophomores working toward varsity positions include Erin Hays, Megan Landis, Megan O'Bryan and Megan Salyer.
"We have eight, nine or 10 players who can play varsity tennis," said Witteman, whose team opened Aug. 14 against Hamilton Township and begins OCC-Ohio play Aug. 27 at Groveport. "Some of our younger players are hitting the ball well and they have made quite a bit of improvement from last year. We will be looking for some of them to step up."
Last year, the Greyhounds finished 11-6 overall and did not have any district qualifiers. Shawver reached the second round of a Division I sectional tournament at Hilliard Davidson, losing to Ashley Thai of Hilliard Bradley 6-0, 6-0.
In the OCC-Ohio, Grove City finished sixth (17, 2-5) behind champion Pickerington Central (77, 7-0).