Considering his team is fielding an entirely new lineup, Westerville North High School girls tennis coach Rob Carlson might not have scheduled some of the Warriors' toughest opponents early in the season.

Considering his team is fielding an entirely new lineup, Westerville North High School girls tennis coach Rob Carlson might not have scheduled some of the Warriors' toughest opponents early in the season.

But knowing his team probably would take its lumps, Carlson is doing his best to bring his players along and gain experience for the rest of this season and beyond.

"I haven't seen all the progress I had hoped for," said Carlson, whose team was 0-10 overall before playing Canal Winchester on Sept. 15. "We have a lot of work to do, and the thing I have emphasized to the girls is that not only do we have to improve the rest of this season, but we have to carry that work into the offseason. We knew we had some inexperience, but injuries haven't helped, either."

Ashley Nguyen, a senior who had played third singles as well as both first and second doubles, suffered a season-ending injury during a 5-0 loss to Marysville on Aug. 30. That pushed Carlson to promote senior Asha Harris, junior Kelsey Cox and sophomore Gabrielle Cochran higher in the lineup.

All three have played doubles for the most part. Cochran has teamed with her sister, sophomore Riley Cochran, at first doubles on several occasions.

Senior Hope Bruce and junior Abby Bouton have been North's first and second singles players, respectively, most of the season. But according to Carlson, Bouton sustained a season-ending knee injury during a 5-0 loss at Delaware on Sept. 14.

"(Gabrielle Cochran, Cox and Harris) were just outside our top seven, and they are getting thrown into the fire," Carlson said. "The stability at the top of the lineup has been big. Hope is more of a power player, but given that the first part of our schedule was the toughest, she didn't have much of a chance to show it, especially when she was going up against girls as good as (Dublin Jerome's) Ellee Bullock (the defending Division I district singles champion). She has seen some of the best competition in the state.

North was 0-6 in the OCC-Cardinal Division before wrapping up league play against Canal Winchester.

The Warriors lost by 4-1 scores to Westerville South on Aug. 24 and Westerville Central on Sept. 1. They lost by 5-0 scores to Hilliard Darby on Aug. 18, Dublin Scioto on Aug. 25, Jerome on Aug. 27 and Hilliard Bradley on Sept. 8.

North's potential first win, on Sept. 4 at Centennial, was suspended because of bad weather. According to Carlson, North was leading on every court before heavy thunderstorms halted play.

That match was rescheduled for Sept. 29.

Doubles teams helping Warhawks

Central had won eight of its previous nine matches before playing Marysville on Sept. 15, and even with stalwarts Nicole Cardwell and Alexandria Shaw at first and second singles, respectively, coach Donovon Barrett credited some of the team's success to stability at doubles.

Amber Baez and Shayla Ta have played first doubles, ahead of Nikita Nair and Sofia Villaveces at second doubles, for the past few weeks.

"They didn't start out together, but we seem to have found the right chemistry, the right mixes, and it seems to be working," Barrett said. "Amber and Shayla's skill sets complement each other. Amber is very consistent, and Shayla is a little more powerful.

"Nikita and Sofia are really different players. Nikita is learning a lot about doubles. Sofia is a really good athlete. They're both coachable and very competitive."

The Warhawks were 8-3 overall before Sept. 15, and finished 5-2 in the OCC-Cardinal.

Barrett also pointed to Resham Mawalkar's 7-6, 4-6, 6-1 win over Bradley's Maggie Lorenz on Aug. 27, which helped the Warhawks to a 3-2 league victory.

"Resham came up huge that day," Barrett said. "Really the biggest thing we've discussed is simply being competitive and having a will to win. We've played 10 girls so far. That's a big bright side, especially since we don't have any seniors."

Wildcats hit rough patch

South matched its win total from last year by defeating league rival Canal Winchester 3-2 in its opener Aug. 18, and exceeded it with a 4-1 win at North on Aug. 24, but stumbled onto hard times thereafter and was 2-5 overall before playing Delaware on Sept. 15.

The Wildcats finished 2-5 in the OCC-Cardinal. South went 1-9 overall and 0-7 in the league in 2014.

South's lineup has been stable for most of the season. Eleni Velalis has played first singles, followed by Audrey Bonds at second singles and Monica Pedrozo at third singles.

Gabby Marinelli and Janee Marinelli have played first doubles for the past few weeks, ahead of Ava Howell and Sarah Tippie at second doubles.