Kathy Kinnard has an experienced group of returnees in her seventh season coaching the Grandview Heights girls tennis program.
Despite the veteran roster, the Bobcats aren't expecting to make much progress in the MSL-Ohio Division. The league already featured strong programs such as defending champion Columbus Academy, Bexley, Wellington and Worthington Christian and now has added Buckeye Valley and Columbus School for Girls.
"We're better than we were last year, but I'm not sure how that will translate into wins," said Kinnard, whose team opened Aug. 13 against Worthington Christian. "We also added Buckeye Valley and CSG to the league, and they are a couple of teams that will be a challenge for us."
After finishing 4-12 overall and 1-4 in the MSL-Ohio last fall, the Bobcats have returned five members of their starting lineup in seniors Taylor Fultz, Liz McDermott, Ava Rehbeck and Kayla Ward and junior Kate Kukura.
"We don't have it all sorted out yet, but Taylor will play first singles," Kinnard said. "We need a few more workouts and some head-to-head play to figure out the rest."
Fultz also played first singles a year ago. She enjoys the challenge of facing the opponent's best player.
"It can be rough because you play the best of each school," Fultz said. "I just started playing in my freshman year and some of the girls I go up against have been playing since they were like 3 (years old). Still, it's nice to be able to go out there and try my hardest. I know I keep getting better every match that I play."
McDermott played singles in the Division II postseason last fall. She said the Bobcats have a good mix of experience and newcomers.
"I think we have a lot of good juniors and seniors back," she said. "We have (seven) incoming freshmen this year, which is good because we only had one (freshman) last year. I think we're going to be able to leave the program in a good, solid place when we leave."
Kukura played doubles last season and said there are advantages to teaming up on the court.
"It's more fun to have someone else out there with you to help you and cheer you on," she said.
Ward has played on both the singles and doubles courts, but doesn't have a preference.
"I love singles because I can control what's going on, but I really enjoy doubles because you have someone out there with you to help you relax and calm you down," she said. "Sometimes I overthink things too much in singles, so having that extra person can help."
Other players in the varsity mix are seniors Taylor Beight and Marissa Tosi and juniors Dylan Dobbs-Euans, Audra Naille, Marit Swanson, Cate Stanley and Cora Wilson.
"I like that most of the girls have been together for two years," Kinnard said. "They are very positive with each other, and they like playing tennis. Their work ethic is pretty strong and they are just good young people."
Boys golfers playing limited varsity slate
The boys golf team will play mostly junior varsity contests with a few selected varsity matches.
Sophomore Jack Greer was the Bobcats' lone participant in the j.v. portion of the MSL-Ohio preseason tournament Aug. 6 at Westchester. He shot a 114.
"We're young and pretty inexperienced," said coach Kevin Richards, who is in his 12th season. "We'll have trouble competing in a tough league like we play in with the likes of Academy, Bexley, Worthington Christian and Wellington. We'll mostly play j.v. teams except for a few."
Richards said the Bobcats were going to play a varsity match against West Jefferson on Aug. 12.
The roster also includes sophomore Tyler Schmied and six freshmen in Dyllan Deafenbaugh, Jeffrey Grant, Nicholas Hayes, Aidan McCoy, Ian Roediger and Lane Stottlemire.
The Bobcats will not have a girls team because they did not have any girls try out.
Football team fills opening in schedule
The football team has filled its Week 3 opening with a home game Sept. 13 against Bucyrus.
The Bobcats had an opening after Zanesville Rosecrans canceled its season last month. Instead, the Bishops are attempting to field an eight-man team because they had only 13 players.
Grandview defeated Rosecrans 70-26 last season.
Bucyrus plays in Division VI, Region 22. The Bobcats play in Division VI, Region 24.
Last season, the Redmen went 3-7 while Grandview finished 7-4, losing to Bainbridge Paint Valley 39-36 in the first round of the Region 23 playoffs.
Below are the coming schedules for the Grandview Heights boys golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Aug. 15 -- Grove City Christian and Ready at Hickory Hills
Aug. 17 -- MSL-Ohio midseason tournament at Turnberry
Aug. 19 -- Washington Court House at Quail Run
Aug. 19 -- Home vs. Fisher Catholic
Aug. 20 -- At Olentangy Berlin
Aug. 20 -- At West Jefferson
Aug. 20 -- Home vs. Bloom-Carroll
Aug. 21 -- At Hamilton Township
Aug. 17 -- Home vs. Grove City Christian and Whetstone
Aug. 20 -- Home vs. Briggs