Grandview Heights Roundup: Girls tennis team looks 'noticeably better'

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Senior Kate Kukura returns to help lead the Grandview Heights girls tennis team under eighth-year coach Kathy Kinnard. Kukura is in her fourth year starting in doubles.

Coach Kathy Kinnard has 11 seniors on her Grandview Heights girls tennis program's varsity roster, but only three have varsity experience.

Senior Kate Kukura is the only returning full-time varsity player from last fall, when the Bobcats finished 7-8 overall and 1-6 in the MSL-Ohio Division. Classmates Dylan Dobbs-Euans and Cate Stanley saw limited varsity action.

Despite the inexperience, Kinnard said her players are much improved after spending time on the courts in the offseason.

"We'll see how good we are against our opponents, but they have definitely improved from playing over the summer," said Kinnard, who is in her eighth season. "Tennis was something that they could do (despite the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic). They went down to the courts and played each other. They are noticeably better."

Kinnard said the lineup might be in flux throughout the season but would start with Stanley at first singles, Dobbs-Euans at second singles and senior Lydia Robertson at third singles.

Kukura is in her fourth year starting in doubles. She will be joined at first doubles by senior Juliana Bongiorno.

"(In doubles), you have to be able to talk to your partner and have a lot of communication," Kukura said. "You have to know who gets the ball, and there's a lot of moving back and forth.

"I like playing on the baseline. I'm getting better at the net, but I like talking shots at the baseline."

Seniors Maggie Lyon and Audra Naile will begin on the second-doubles court.

Also expected to play varsity are seniors Caroline Kahle, Maggie Lobley, Marit Swanson and Cora Wilson.

"I anticipate 11 kids playing varsity with shifting and rotating," Kinnard said. "There's not really a big drop-off amongst those 11 kids."

The Bobcats opened Aug. 12 by defeating Hamilton Township 5-0. Stanley, Dobbs-Euans and Robertson won on the singles courts. Bongiorno and Kukura won at first doubles and Lyon and Naile won at second doubles.

"It will be interesting to see how we match up with our opponents," Kinnard said. "(Our players) are all very similar.

"We lack varsity experience. No one other than Kate Kukura has played varsity full time in the past. There is a difference in skill level from what they played in the past, but they are much improved."

Grandview began MSL-Ohio competition Aug. 18 against Worthington Christian.

Clearys, Larson to lead boys golfers

Senior Brendan Cleary and sophomore Colin Cleary return for the boys golf team after being the only members of the program to compete in the postseason last fall.

They expect to receive help from sophomore Jacob Larson, who did not play last season to concentrate on baseball.

Brendan Cleary shot an 84 to tie for 14th of 75 golfers in the Division III district tournament, and Colin Cleary shot an 87 to tie for 20th.

"We have a cornerstone this year, and that's something we can build on," said coach Kevin Richards, who is in his 13th season. "I could have two or three good scores every match, so we'll see how it rounds out for the rest of them.

"The Clearys have worked on their games a ton. They played in tournaments, and they were playing in Michigan before we played (in August). We expect them to be in the high 70s or low 80s consistently. Jacob looks to strike the ball well."

Juniors Jack Greer and Tyler Schmied and sophomores Nick Hayes and Ian Roediger will be in the mix to round out the lineup.

"Nick played quite a bit of golf in the offseason, and Jack has a lot of physical talent but he needs to be more consistent," Richards said.

Juniors Sam Elliott, Max Mott and Hayden Roemer also are playing, as are freshmen Andee Ely, Ben Matter and Bella Rish.

The Bobcats opened Aug. 13 by losing to Shekinah Christian 178-188 at National Road. Greer led with a 42, followed by Schmied (48), Hayes (49) and Larson (49).

Grandview did not compete in the MSL-Ohio preseason tournament Aug. 7 at Westchester. Richards expects the Bobcats to play in the league's midseason tournament Aug. 29 at Turnberry.

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At a glance

BOYS GOLF

*Coach: Kevin Richards, 13th season

*Top players: Brendan Cleary and Colin Cleary

*Key losses: None

*2019 MSL-Ohio standings: Columbus Academy (12-0), Wellington (8-4), Bexley (6-6), Worthington Christian (3-9), Buckeye Valley (1-11)

*2019 postseason: Did not score at district

GIRLS TENNIS

*Coach: Kathy Kinnard, eighth season

*Top players: Dylan Dobbs-Euans, Kate Kukura, Lydia Robertson and Cate Stanley

*Key losses: Taylor Beight, Taylor Fultz, Liz McDermott, Ava Rehbeck, Marissa Tosi and Kayla Ward

*Last season: 7-8 overall

*2019 MSL-Ohio standings: Academy (42, 7-0), Wellington (33, 6-1), Bexley (26, 5-2), Worthington Christian (24, 4-3), Columbus School for Girls (22, 3-4), Buckeye Valley (16, 2-5), Grandview (7, 1-6), Whitehall (0, 0-7)