The Worthington Kilbourne High School girls tennis team has returned four of its top seven players from last season.
Three of the returnees -- senior Elizabeth Borchers and juniors Erica Chen and Anna Zellar -- are expected to play singles for the Wolves, who opened Aug. 13 at Dublin Jerome and begin OCC-Capital Division play Tuesday, Aug. 19, at home against Delaware.
"Erica Chen, Elizabeth Borchers and Anna Zellar need to play solid as returnees," said first-year coach Steve Metzmaier, who has coached the boys team for 15 seasons. "They should have some good, competitive matches. The others' success will depend on their improvement."
Chen was Kilbourne's only Division I district qualifier last season. Seeded fourth in the sectional at Pickerington Central, she won the sectional title by beating Olentangy's Bri Brdicka 6-2, 6-2 in the final.
Chen then lost to Hilliard Davidson's Heather Haynes 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the first round at district.
Borchers and Zellar reached a district-qualifying match in doubles before losing to Central's Maddie Bechert and Madi Schott 6-1, 6-0.
Also back is sophomore Hannah Kerns, who played doubles at sectional last season with 2014 graduate Marissa Lazaroff. The duo won their first-round match before falling in the second round.
Rounding out the team are seniors Chenying Huang and Apsara Sankar, juniors Lexi Stevens, Victoria Tzangas and Samantha Wheeler, sophomores Chyna Morris and Lauren Thomas and freshmen Rose Hampshire, Aubrey Lyons and Lina Zarnista.
"It's too early to know how things will fall out in terms of the lineup," Metzmaier said. "All of the players need to understand how important consistency is. ... You don't want to make unforced errors and beat yourself.
"Our goal is simply to improve and help the new players build a love for the game."
Kilbourne went 3-4 (17 points) in the OCC-Capital last season to place fifth, behind champion New Albany (41, 7-0). The Wolves then finished fourth (6) in the fifth-place OCC tournament, behind Thomas (17), Hilliard Bradley (14) and Lancaster (13).
Cardinal return four starters
Second-year Thomas coach David Albert is hoping the return of four starters will help his team improve on last season.
The Cardinals, who lost first-singles player Monica Chang to graduation, finished 8-6 overall last year and went 3-4 (17) in the OCC-Central to place fifth behind champion Upper Arlington (39, 7-0). They did not have any Division I district qualifiers.
The returnees are seniors Elizabeth Chiu and Molly Maxwell, junior Marriella Briones and sophomore Anastasia Toth.
"Marriella Briones and Elizabeth Chiu will probably play singles this season," said Albert, whose team opens Tuesday, Aug. 19, with a league match at UA. "Both had great runs at sectionals last year, only to be defeated in the third set of (their district-qualifying match in doubles). I expect them to make it to district this year."
Chiu and Briones were seeded fourth in the sectional at Reynoldsburg and won their opening match before losing to Olentangy Liberty's Avivah Wang and Sidney Reineke 6-3, 0-6, 6-4, as the top four finishers in singles and doubles advanced to district.
Also at sectional, Maxwell and Toth won their first-round match in doubles before losing to top-seeded Jane Haffer and Alex Cash of New Albany 6-0, 6-0 in the second round.
"I think Molly Maxwell and Anastasia will be at doubles again because they mesh well together," said Albert, who also coaches the boys team. "Then we'll have to fill in one spot in singles and one spot in doubles."
Another starter last season, sophomore Claudia Piper, will not play this year because of an injury sustained during the summer, Albert said.
"The key for us will be to keep it simple," Albert said. "We'll try not to complicate anything and we'll need to be prepared to play patient tennis. We want to finish with a winning record and prepare ourselves to make a good run into district."
Aug. 13 -- at Dublin Jerome
*Aug. 19 -- vs. Delaware
Aug. 20 -- at Hilliard Bradley
Aug. 21 -- at Pickerington North
Aug. 23 -- Watterson Invitational at Park of Roses
*Aug. 26 -- at Mount Vernon
Aug. 27 -- vs. Dublin Scioto
*Aug. 28 -- vs. New Albany
*Sept. 2 -- vs. Big Walnut
*Sept. 4 -- at Olentangy Orange
*Sept. 9 -- vs. Franklin Heights
*Sept. 11 -- at Olentangy
Sept. 13 -- Kim Shephard Doubles Classic at Hilliard Davidson
Sept. 16 -- at Hilliard Darby
Sept. 18 -- vs. Dublin Coffman
Sept. 20 -- OCC tournament at TBA
Sept. 23 -- vs. Westerville North
Sept. 24 -- vs. Thomas
Sept. 30 -- at Davidson
*Aug. 19 -- at Upper Arlington
Aug. 20 -- vs. Delaware
*Aug. 26 -- vs. Westland
Aug. 27 -- at Hilliard Bradley
*Aug. 28 -- at Hilliard Davidson
*Sept. 2 -- at Dublin Coffman
*Sept. 4 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty
*Sept. 9 -- at Marysville
*Sept. 11 -- vs. Central Crossing
Sept. 13 -- Raiders Doubles Tournament at Reynoldsburg
Sept. 15 -- vs. Eastmoor Academy
Sept. 20 -- OCC tournament at TBA
Sept. 22 -- at Westerville Central
Sept. 23 -- at Olentangy Orange
Sept. 24 -- at Kilbourne
Sept. 30 -- vs. Pickerington North