INDIAN HILL – The Cincinnati Hills League girls tennis trophy has rested at Indian Hill High School for the last 17 years, and 2015 could become the 18th.
Coach Gary Samuels led the Lady Braves to an undefeated league record and 19-2 overall with Samuels taking CHL Coach of the Year and Meredith Breda winning Player of the Year.
Starters returning for Indian Hill are Breda, Caroline Andersen, Gracey Hirsch, Sarah Price, Amalia Guzman, Hannah Mendelsohn and Maren McKenna. Breda, Hirsch and Andersen were all CHL first team picks as singles players last fall.
“We are youth-blended with experienced singles players,” Samuels said. “The players all like each other, have fun and make each other better.”
College prospects Breda, Hirsch and Andersen will continue as singles players for their season. All three were part of Indian Hill’s 2013 state championship team. Guzman and Mendelsohn will team with Sarah and Nina Price on doubles.
Indian Hill starts by hosting Finneytown Aug. 13.
Lynne Schneebeck’s Cincinnati Country Day squad took it on the chin last season with a 1-13 record overall and a 0-6 record inside the Miami Valley Conference.
This season, the Indians will look for contributions from returning starters Kathrine Alsfelder, Margaret Hodson, Lily Hill and Elizabeth Pease.
“They are all hard-working, fun players,” the coach said. “They show great effort and drive to improve and learn. They will be great role models for the new student-athletes.”
Schneebeck said the Indians have a large incoming freshmen class. Eleven girls joined the team this season. The coach added that she sees a lot of potential in this young group.
“I watched a number of them develop through their middle school years,” she said.
The Indians begin the season by hosting Kings Aug. 13.
Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy had several girls receive recognition on the all-city teams after the season including Emily Kabalin, Olivia Schwan and Abby Wissman (Division II second team), and Rebecca Richart, Ella Hipsley and Mandy Shank (Division II honorable mention).
The new season begins Aug. 13 at Walnut Hills. The Eagles are coached by Joe Freudenberg.
Ursuline Academy has built itself into one of the powerhouse Division I girls tennis programs in the area with at least 34 consecutive winning seasons to its name.
Other area coaches expect the Lions to be strong again this year.
“Sycamore, Mason, Ursuline and Lakota East will field strong teams again,” Turpin coach Gail Maundrell said.
The Lions have won the last two Girls Greater Catholic League titles and look to add a third this year. Helping UA do that will be senior Jenny Duma, junior Ellie Foster, sophomore Gabriella O’Connor and freshman Gracie Estes.
Duma is one of the program’s most proven winners. She has 75 career wins, good for fourth on the all-time list. Two more wins tie her for third and 30 more puts her in a tie for second.
Coach Joe Hartkemeyer believes O’Connor is a Division I prospect.
“We have a lot to learn as we are very young on experience playing at the Varsity A level, but this group is going to surprise some people,” he said. “I see this group of girls as a team that will have some learning experiences early, but will keep getting better, come together and be a force by season’s end.”
The Mount Notre Dame Cougars were 3-3 in the Girls Greater Catholic League in 2014 and 5-5 overall in 2014.
MND’s top returning player is Sabine Worthoff, who made first team GGCL in singles. Grace Nunn was second team all-league. Both will be juniors.
The Cougars start off at Walnut Hills Aug. 12.
Now in his second year as the Madeira varsity tennis coach, Marchas four returning starters from last season’s 8-10 team. The Amazons will also have to find a way to replace graduate Celia Kline, who was first team in the Cincinnati Hills League a year ago.
Returning to the starting lineup are senior Rachel Chambers, a three-year varsity player, junior Michelle Fischer, senior Lydiaand junior Abbey Gray.
According to the CHL, Chambers posted a 10-11 record at second singles last year. Fischer went 7-1 in her matches at third singles, and went 7-5 withas her doubles partner. Fischer and Chambers were each honorable mention last season.
said he has several girls who earned varsity experience last year and also return to the court this season. Senior Caroline , sophomore Jackie Schmidt and freshman Megan Wu should have opportunities at the varsity level this year.
“I think we have a really good group of girls,” said. “We’re really competitive and I think we’ll do well against comparable competition. I’m always trying to get them thinking about strategy; inexperienced players sort of go out and play. I’m trying to build upon learning from mistakes and staying positive, getting back up for the next point.”
The first-year coach of the Deer Park tennis girls is Sean.
has a tough task, inheriting a team that was last fall.
Returning starters for the Lady Wildcats are juniors Carly Blatz, Tori Hensley, Emily Weber, Haley, , Kathryn and sophomore Paula . Sophomore Emily Robinson and freshman Katie Weber round out the roster.
“I’m excited about getting a fresh start with many eager players,”said. “We have no seniors and my six juniors are hard workers that will develop nicely over the course of this season and next. I also have three underclassmen that are excited to make their mark on the team.”
Deer Park starts with Indian Hill Aug. 20. They take on neighborhood rival Reading Sept. 9.
Players to watch
Meredith Breda, Gracey Hirsch, Caroline Andersen, Indian Hill. The three-headed singles monster for the Lady Braves is as tough as they come.
Sabine Worthoff, MND. Made GGCL first team as a sophomore for the Cougars.