As Ben White begins his second season as girls tennis coach at Whitehall-Yearling High School, he is pointing to the return of six players as a positive on which to build.
Last season, the Rams finished 1-10 overall and went 0-5 with no points in the MSL-Ohio Division to place sixth behind champion Columbus Academy (44, 5-0).
White, whose team opens Monday, Aug. 18, at Central Crossing, believes his season of experience in the program and what his players learned last fall will help in their development as the Rams look to improve their records.
"I had fun last year," White said. "It's a good group of girls. We have six returning and only one graduated (in Courtney Price, who was named honorable mention all-league last season). We should have a good core of veterans. I'm more used to it for sure."
Junior Claudia Fuentes played singles her first two seasons, including first singles last season. She again will play in the No. 1 spot and is the Rams' "most talented player," according to White.
"We recruited a lot of girls this year, so that's pretty good because now we actually have a lot more girls on the team," said Fuentes, who also is a member of the cross country and cheerleading teams and marching band. "I just want everyone to have fun. I know we have a lot of new girls on the team and a lot of them really don't have experience, but I just want them to have fun with it."
White said juniors Angela Li and Zi Wong and seniors Ariana Oldham and Manalee Patel are contending to play on the two doubles teams.
Junior Amanda Wyman, another returnee, and junior Asli Abokor, who is new to the team, are expected to contend for the other singles spots.
Freshman Taylor Marshall rounds out the team.
After playing just nine matches last season, White has increased the schedule to 16 this year to give the players more exposure to the sport.
"Last year was my first time doing it and we just didn't add enough matches," he said. "This year I got on it earlier and we have 16 matches and that's good. We needed some more matches thrown in there."
Last season, the Rams did not win a match in a Division I sectional tournament at Reynoldsburg.
Whitehall's win came against Beechcroft, 5-0 in the regular-season finale. The teams will meet again Sept. 18 at Beechcroft.
White expects Columbus Academy again to be the team to beat in the league. Whitehall opens league play Tuesday, April 19, at home against Academy.
"Columbus Academy, Bexley, Worthington Christian, those are tough matches," he said. "Our focus is on getting better and having fun. Whether or not we get some wins in there, I hope we do. We're playing Beechcoft again and we beat them last year. Hopefully we get a couple wins. We want to practice and get better."
Aug. 18 -- at Central Crossing
*Aug. 19 -- vs. Columbus Academy
Aug. 20 -- at Westerville South
Aug. 26 -- at Eastmoor Academy
Aug. 27 -- vs. Hamilton Township
*Aug. 28 -- vs. London
Sept. 2 -- vs. Eastmoor Academy
Sept. 3 -- vs. Bloom Carroll
Sept. 8 -- vs. Franklin Heights
*Sept. 9 -- at Bexley
*Sept. 11 -- vs. Worthington Christian
*Sept. 16 -- at Grandview
Sept. 18 -- at Beechcroft
Sept. 20 -- MSL-Ohio tournament at Worthington Christian
Sept. 23 -- vs. Logan Elm
Sept. 29 -- at Centennial
Sept. 30 -- at Logan Elm