Although the Hilliard Darby High School girls tennis team lost four of its top seven players from a year ago to graduation, this season could be a bright one.

Although the Hilliard Darby High School girls tennis team lost four of its top seven players from a year ago to graduation, this season could be a bright one.

Senior Sydney Bright is back for her fourth season as a starter, and seventh-year coach Erika Little said some of the newcomers should fit right in with the squad.

Bright ascends to the top of the singles lineup after playing second singles the past two years behind 2016 graduate Mikino Maeda, who finished 15-5 last season.

"Sydney Bright has a lot of experience and appears to be stronger mentally and very determined to improve and finish points," said Little, whose team opened Aug. 16 against Columbus West. "She has improved the pace of her ball and is displaying more confidence and aggressiveness."

Last year in the Division I sectional tournament at Upper Arlington, Bright reached a quarterfinal in singles competition before losing 6-0, 6-1 to Olentangy Liberty's Alexia Meyer, who went on to qualify for state.

Also having returned for the Panthers are seniors Adun Obisesan and Shannon See. Both teamed with a 2016 graduate to play doubles at sectional last season.

See, junior Vidhi Patel and sophomore Kelsie Huss were vying for the final two singles positions entering this week.

"Kelsie Huss has looked real good so far," Little said. "She hustles and reaches every ball. She has good placement of the ball and a positive attitude and that shows up consistently."

Whichever player doesn't secure a spot at second or third singles likely will be vying for a doubles position along with Obisesan, juniors Grace Alexander and Paige Taylor and sophomore Sydney Davis.

Rounding out the roster are seniors Kaitlynne Chapman, Shruthi Kandalai and Amna Tahir.

"We are very young and a much different team than the last few years," Little said. "We're going to concentrate on little things like focusing on our basics and learning to finish shots and keep our heads in the whole match. We want to be competitive and aggressive, and doing those things may help us to finish in third place in our league."

Last season, the Panthers finished 10-9 overall and went 4-3 in the OCC-Cardinal to place fourth behind Dublin Jerome (7-0), Dublin Scioto (6-1) and Westerville Central (5-2) and ahead of Bradley (3-4), Westerville South (2-5), Westerville North (1-6) and Canal Winchester (0-7).

As part of OCC realignment, Delaware, Thomas Worthington and Worthington Kilbourne have replaced Canal Winchester, Central, South and North in the OCC-Cardinal. Darby opens league play Thursday, Aug. 18, at home against Delaware.

bemerine@thisweeknews.com

@Brad_ThisWeek

Schedules

GIRLS TENNIS

Aug. 16 -- vs. Columbus West

Aug. 17 -- vs. Gahanna

*Aug. 18 -- vs. Delaware

*Aug. 23 -- at Worthington Kilbourne

Aug. 24 -- vs. Jonathan Alder

*Aug. 25 -- vs. Dublin Scioto

*Aug. 30 -- vs. Dublin Jerome

Aug. 31 -- at Davidson

*Sept. 6 -- vs. Thomas Worthington

Sept. 7 -- at Westland

*Sept. 8 -- at Bradley

Sept. 13 -- vs. Westerville Central

Sept. 14 -- at Marysville

Sept. 15 -- vs. DeSales

Sept. 20 -- vs. Grandview

Sept. 21 -- vs. Bexley

Sept. 22 -- at Big Walnut

Sept. 24 -- Kim Shepherd Doubles Classic at Davidson

Sept. 27 -- vs. Grove City

Sept. 29 -- vs. Lancaster

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Darby boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:

BOYS GOLF

Aug. 20 -- Kent Miller Colonial Fall Classic at Hiawatha

Aug. 23 -- Central Crossing at Oakhurst

Aug. 24 -- quad match at Heritage

GIRLS GOLF

Aug. 18 -- Marysville at Rolling Meadows

BOYS SOCCER

Aug. 23 -- At Grandview in opener

GIRLS SOCCER

Aug. 23 -- Home vs. Grandview in opener

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

*Aug. 23 -- Home vs. Delaware in opener

*League contest