With newly resurfaced courts and several key players back, the Central Crossing High School girls tennis team hopes to improve on last season.
The Comets went 1-14 overall and finished eighth (1 point, 0-7) in the OCC-Central Division behind champion Upper Arlington (39, 7-0).
"The school district resurfaced all the tennis courts over the summer and our courts are looking excellent," said coach Neil Hohman, who begins his sixth season Thursday, Aug. 14, at home against Circleville. "Our team goals include improving in the league standings and OCC tournament place. We also want to improve on our season win total from previous years."
Central Crossing returns five players who competed in the postseason last fall, but none advanced to the district tournament. In a Division I sectional at UA, sophomore Marlie Griffith defeated Franklin Heights' Breanna Novotney 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in a play-in match before losing to Watterson's Courtney Brown 6-0, 6-0. Also in singles, senior Savannah Kovacs lost to fourth-seeded Maria Jeric of Watterson 6-0, 6-0 in the first round.
The doubles team of senior Tara Thomas and junior Michelle Massey beat Teays Valley's Jana Whittredge and Jordyn Taylor 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 before losing to top-seeded Audrey Berger and Kyra Jung of UA 6-0, 6-0 in the second round.
The doubles team of sophomore Jessica Dines and 2014 graduate Ashley Fyffe lost to Whetstone's Sophia Lombard and Brenna O'Sullivan 6-1, 6-1 in the first round.
Other returning players are senior Mackenzie Wallace, junior Sophia Semchishin and sophomore Jordan Falk.
"Our team strength will be our group consistency and responsibility," Hohman said. "We have every underclassman back from last year along with a handful of new girls, which will help with expectations. Our senior leaders have numerous years of experience to draw upon and the knowledge to help our younger and new players improve."
The varsity is rounded out by juniors Kailee Morgan, Athina Peterson, Cammie Price, Inna Shvets, Haley Whitted and Margaret Wright and sophomores Karissa Mathias and Carmen Turner.
"We will need to work to develop our tennis talents and get some players in the singles spots," Hohman said. "Many of our girls have been doubles players in the past and we will need some girls to step up and take on some challenges on the singles courts."
The Comets open OCC-Central competition Tuesday, Aug. 19, at home against Olentangy Liberty.
Last season, Central Crossing finished third (13) in the eighth-place OCC tournament behind Groveport and Westerville North, which tied for first with 16 points. Franklin Heights (5) was fourth.
Greyhounds looking for right combination
Grove City returns two players who competed in the Division I postseason last year as it looks to improve on a 9-8 overall record.
Seniors Vicki Rohr and Lauren Singleton competed in a sectional at Hilliard Davidson, but the Greyhounds did not have any district qualifiers. Rohr lost to Delaware's Claire Brennan 6-1, 6-2 in the first round of singles play and Singleton teamed with 2014 graduate Rachel Henricksen, losing to Marysville's Mikayla Knox and Sammi Hunt 7-5, 6-2 in the first round of doubles.
"We only have two seniors in Vicki Rohr and Lauren Singleton," said coach Dan Witteman, who began his 26th season when the Greyhounds opened with Hamilton Township on Aug. 13. "We're not sure who will be playing on what courts right now. That will be determined after the first few matches or so."
Aside from Rohr and Singleton, those in the mix for varsity time are juniors Anne Brown, Morgan Cox, Erin Hays, Megan Landis and Megan Salyers. Another junior, Rachel Townley, is new to the program after playing soccer the past two years.
"Our seven players (on the varsity courts) will come from those eight," Witteman said. "We have a good group and I think we can be competitive, even though the OCC is tough."
Last season, the Greyhounds finished seventh (9, 1-6) in the OCC-Ohio behind champion Pickerington Central (42, 7-0). They open league play Tuesday, Aug. 19, against visiting Reynoldsburg.
Host Grove City finished second (15) last season in the OCC seventh-place tournament, behind Westerville South (17) and ahead of Westland (10) and Mount Vernon (8).
"We have 28 girls after having 29 last year," Witteman said. "We want to carry a lot of players. We might not have courts for all of them, but we want them to get that experience of learning the game."
Aug. 14 -- vs. Circleville
Aug. 18 -- vs. Whitehall
*Aug. 19 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty
Aug. 20 -- vs. Jonathan Alder
*Aug. 26 -- at Hilliard Davidson
*Aug. 28 -- vs. Marysville
*Sept. 2 -- vs. Upper Arlington
*Sept. 4 -- at Westland
*Sept. 9 -- vs. Dublin Coffman
Sept. 10 -- at Franklin Heights
*Sept. 11 -- at Thomas Worthington
Sept. 15 -- at Hamilton Township
Sept. 17 -- Home vs. Grove City
Sept. 20 -- OCC tournament at TBA
Sept. 22 -- at Hilliard Bradley
Sept. 23 -- vs. Bloom-Carroll
Sept. 24 -- vs. Ready
Sept. 29 -- vs. London
Sept. 30 -- vs. Teays Valley
Aug. 13 -- vs. Hamilton Township
Aug. 15 -- vs. Westerville North
*Aug. 19 -- vs. Reynoldsburg
Aug. 20 -- vs. Westland
Aug. 21 -- vs. Canal Winchester
Aug. 25 -- vs. Grandview
*Aug. 26 -- at Groveport
*Aug. 28 -- at Lancaster
*Sept. 2 -- vs. Newark
Sept. 3 -- at Whetstone
*Sept. 4 -- vs. Pickerington North
Sept. 8 -- vs. Circleville
*Sept. 9 -- at Pickerington Central
*Sept. 11 -- vs. Gahanna
Sept. 15 -- at Hilliard Darby
Sept. 17 -- at Central Crossing
Sept. 18 -- vs. Ready
Sept. 20 -- OCC tournament at TBA
Sept. 22 -- at Teays Valley
Sept. 23 -- vs. Hilliard Davidson
Sept. 25 -- vs. Marysville
Sept. 30 -- at Hilliard Bradley