Girls tennis preview capsules
Coach: Jeff Forget, 6th year
Last year: 10-6
Key returnees: Caitlyn Briggs, Sr.; Emma Forget, Sr.; Julia LePrevost, Sr.
The Wildcats will again be a force in Berkshire County and may be even stronger this season with a trio of seniors slated to be the team's singles players, which will help offset the graduation of three seniors from last year's team.
Briggs and Forget will battle it out for the top spot in challenge matches, so don't be surprised to see them bounce back and forth in the lineup throughout the season. LePrevost will likely be the No. 3 singles player.
"They've been the core of this team for the past few years," the coach said.
The Wildcats won't be relying solely on that trio, though. They have a couple of returning juniors ( Ashley Kelly and Kayla Withers) who will challenge for some time in singles and will help solidify the doubles teams.
"With three returning seniors and two juniors and some younger kids, we'll be OK," Forget said. "I think I'm pleasantly surprised with how solid we're going to be one through seven. I also think tennis is a game of maturity, emotional maturity. No credit can go to the coaches for that. It happens developmentally."
Some other returning players include sophomores Kate DelSignor and Sarah Winston and freshman Madison DeSantis. The ninth-grader may be one to watch out for. Forget called the tall, long girls a "great athlete."
Coach: Shari Butler, 1st year
Last year: 14-5, Western Mass. finalist and won South
Key returnees: Rachana Lingutla, Sr.; Liz Jarck, So.
The Millionaire alumna is making a return to coaching her alma mater after holding the same position from 1999-2002, and she has her work cut out for herself with an incredibly young team.
"It's going to be a building year," she said. "But I'm in it for the long haul."
It doesn't get much younger that having a freshman as your No. 1 singles player, but that's exactly where Butler has Victoria Vittori playing. The Richmond native is new to the Lenox school system.
Butler said Vittori plays year-round with the junior development team at Berkshire West, but was still surprised by her game.
"As a freshman, I was very pleased with her control and the pace of her ball," the coach said. "She has the ability to keep the ball in play. She's very consistent.
"The only thing missing is experience."
The rest of the singles lineup doesn't get much more experienced. Sophomore Liz Jarck will likely be slotted in at No. 2, and freshman Alex Trousilek is a good bet at third singles.
Butler said Jarck is a well-rounded player with good consistency and "great top spin on the forehand side." As for Trousilek, it was a toss-up for Butler because the freshman is a lefty.
"It's a hard one to judge. She doesn't have the prettiest of strokes, but she's so consistent.
"And she can hold her own. She has some strategy to her, great thinker."
There's some sorting out needing to be done on the doubles side because the talent pool is even.
In the season opener, Butler had freshman Ella King and sophomore Cami Smachetti in the first doubles slot and senior Rachana Lingutla playing with sophomore Emily Szelusniak at second doubles.
The Millionaires may have an ace -- or two -- in the hole with seniors Liz Mitts and Josie Marshall playing for the first time.
Coach: Jeff Caligari
Last year: 14-3, state finalist
Key returnees: Sam White, Sr.; Cara Freadman, So.; Jen Evans, Sr.
The Spartans made program history in 2013 with their first-ever appearance in the state final. To do it again, they'll need the experience their roster boasts.
Making her third and final return atop the singles roster is senior Sam White, giving Monument an almost guaranteed point each time it hits the court. Classmate Evans is making the jump from doubles to third singles.
Between those two is an underclassman in Freadman, who is taking over her sister Courtney's spot from a year ago at No. 2 singles.
Evans and Freadman were doubles partners last year and are looking to bolster the singles lineup this spring.
The rest of the team still needs some figuring out. Caligari said he had about seven or eight players vying for five spots. He's hoping that kind of intrasquad competition should keep his players from becoming too comfortable in their positions throughout the year and their games improving.
Coach: Gary Worthington
Last year: N/A
Key returnees: Ashlee Shaw, Jr.; Maya Neski, Fr.; Erica Sullivan, Sr.; Samantha Twing, So.; Julia Grober, Fr.
The Mount Everett girls tennis team hopes to get a boost from an influx of young talent in the program.
The team will rely on several underclassmen to produce, but the team is led by Shaw.
The junior will be the No. 1 singles player, and Worthington said he needs to be more consist, but added with additional experience he expects her to cut down on her errors.
Sullivan and Twing will compete as the No. 1 doubles team, and look for Robitaille to strengthen the team's singles play as well.
Worthington said with so many newcomers, it's hard to gage exactly how the team will gel, but he said his new players have a lot of natural ability.
"Too early tell about chemistry," he said "We've got to get on the court and put it together."
Coach: John Jacobbe, 8th year
Last year: 11-5, Western Mass. semifinalist
Key returnees: Tara Shastri, So.; Melina Sfakianaki, Sr.; Tyra Nurmi, Sr.; Mariza Sfakianaki, Sr.
The Mounties have needed to address a lot of questions early in the season because there will be a lot of people in new places this season.
Greylock lost a trio of players that are causing the changes. The top singles player from last year, Margot Besnard, graduated and two others didn't return.
The loss at No. 1 singles already meant returning players were going to move up a slot, but the other two losses have thrown a wrench into Jacobbe's plan for his doubles teams.
Tara Shastri, the sister of last year's All-Eagle boys MVP Rohan Shastri, is the "odds-on favorite" to take over the tall task of assuming the role of No. 1 singles player, Jacobbe said.
"Tara's put some time and effort into her tennis," Jacobbe said. "She's confident and has a year under her belt, so I'm confident she can compete at the number one spot."
How the other singles spots will shape up wasn't determined because of the depth the coach is trying to sift through.
It seems some combination of senior tri-captains Melina and Mariza Sfakianaki and Tyra Nurmi will fill those roles throughout the season.
Nurmi and Mariza both spent most of last season on a doubles team.
With so many positions to figure it out, it would seem Jacobbe will be waiting a while for everything to sort itself out, but he didn't anticipate that being the case.
"I think there's seven, eight girls that has the tennis experience that will make the clear-cut decision," he said. "To make the final decisions, it's going to take a few days out on the courts and narrow down challenge matches."
Coach: Jennifer Paskowski, 2nd year
Last year: N/A
Key returnees: Micaela Goodrich, Sr.; Emily Deaso, Sr.; Amanda Miller, Sr.; Taylor Turner, Jr.
The Generals are lucky to have some upperclassmen on the team this season, but that doesn't mean it's making figuring out the lineup any easier.
Goodrich and Deaso are the top two choices for No. 1 singles, but nothing has been settled yet, and it might be a while before anything is.
"There's extremely tight competition for number one right now," Paskowski said.
Deaso played doubles last year, so one point of emphasis early on, the coach said, is conditioning because now she has to cover the whole court.
Miller, Deaso's partner last season, will be at first doubles, but her partner hasn't been solidified yet, but Anna Worley was paired with her against Lenox.
"I think she has a good spirit about the game," Paskowski said. "She never gets discouraged. You need that with doubles, need your partner to have confidence in you."
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