The Centennial High School boys tennis team has its sights set on winning the City League-North Division title.

In the past two seasons, the winner of the Centennial-Whetstone match has represented the City-North in the City final. In both cases, the matches were early in the season. Last year, Whetstone won 3-2 in the opener March 26 and finished 4-0, while the Stars finished 3-1.

In 2017, the Stars won 4-1 on March 29 and finished 4-0.

This year, the teams will close City-North matches April 29 on Centennial's home courts at Antrim Park.

"I like the schedule much better because it gives us both time to get some work done before a key match," said 21st-year coach Barbara Stevenson, whose team plays host to Mifflin in its league opener Thursday, April 4. "I think that match may decide who wins the (City-North) again.

"I think we have a real good singles lineup and we'll be looking for improvement on the doubles courts. Our top three guys in singles took lessons in the winter and look strong and ready to go, so that should give us a chance in our league."

Senior Jack Jones returns at first singles, followed by sophomores Max Wissman and Aiden Ly.

"Jack played (first singles) all last year and should have a great senior season," Stevenson said. "Max is right there with him. Their serves and ground strokes are the best on the team. They could actually flip-flop if needed, too.

"The same goes with Aiden at No. 3. (Senior) Spencer Newkirk could get starts there as well, with one of them working their way into the doubles lineup."

In a Division II sectional last season, Wissman lost in a district-qualifying match while Newkirk went 1-1 and Jones lost his first match.

The Stars finished 6-4 overall a year ago.

Early this season, the doubles lineup has featured juniors Simon McKenzie and Andrew Smith on the first court and junior Tyler Morefield and sophomore Izaaz Akbar on the second.

The Stars lost to Watkins Memorial 3-2 in their opener March 27 and fell to Thomas Worthington 3-0 on March 29 in a rain-shortened match. They played Columbus Academy on April 2 and Eastmoor Academy on April 3.

Girls lacrosse team seeks improvement

The girls lacrosse team already has matched last year's win total, beating Lima Senior 9-2 on March 18 and Whetstone 9-4 on March 26.

The Stars were 2-3 before playing Delaware on April 2. They finished 2-17 last season.

"We're still working on a lot of things and trying to get acclimated to the weather and each other," first-year coach Brittani Lewis said. "We've got 16 girls on the roster and six are new to lacrosse and, actually, they have never played a high school sport.

"One of the first things we did was work on conditioning and get into the weight room. We've worked extremely hard on stance and stick-handling skills and basic fundamentals like learning to cradle the ball while running down the field. We only had a handful of girls who could do that last year."

Lewis, who coaches girls volleyball in the fall, was an assistant coach last year. She switched positions with Marquise Lovejoy, who guided the program in its first three seasons.

Returning starters are seniors Tonesty Burt (midfielder), Lena Dwidari (defender), Bella Hoffman (midfielder) and Malikah Payne (defender), juniors Rhian Jones (defender) and Katie Selbe (midfielder) and sophomore Bella Moore (attacker).

"Tonesty has really good stick skills and can go right-handed or left-handed and she's strong and very quick," Lewis said. "Katie has the most experience and has great stick skills and a high-level lacrosse IQ.

"Bella, Rhian and Lena are aggressive, communicate well and are positive leaders."

Also returning are sophomores Trinity Brown (defender) and Elena Rehg (attacker).

Jones also may share time in goal with senior Vena Triggs. Freshman Batuol Alshamrookh has been among the top attackers.

Other players are senior Makayla Held (attacker), junior Areebah Khan (defender) and freshmen Leila Augenstein (defender), Foune Traore (attacker) and Camile Woods (defender/midfielder).

The Stars lost to Westerville South 14-1 on March 20, Dayton Carroll 20-3 on March 27 and Dayton Chaminade Julienne 16-0 on March 29.

bemerine@thisweeknews.com

@Brad_ThisWeek

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the Centennial baseball, girls lacrosse, softball, boys tennis and track & field teams:

BASEBALL

April 4 -- At Hartley

*April 5 -- At Beechcroft

April 6 -- Home vs. Whitehall

*April 8 -- At Mifflin

*April 10 -- Home vs. Whetstone

GIRLS LACROSSE

April 4 -- Home vs. Marysville

April 5 -- Home vs. Olentangy Berlin

April 10 -- Home vs. Big Walnut

SOFTBALL

April 4 -- Home vs. Centerburg

*April 5 -- At Beechcroft

April 6 -- Patriot Prep and Wellington at Lou Berliner Park

*April 8 -- At Mifflin

April 9 -- At Fairfield Christian

*April 10 -- Home vs. Whetstone

BOYS TENNIS

*April 4 -- Home vs. Mifflin

April 8 -- Home vs. Village Academy

April 9 -- Home vs. DeSales

*April 10 -- Home vs. Northland

TRACK & FIELD

April 6 -- Red Edwards Golden Eagle Relays at Big Walnut

*League contest