INDIAN HILL – Thanks to three stellar singles players the Indian Hill High School girls tennis team should be in line for another Cincinnati Hills League championship and another postseason run.
On the other hand, the Lady Braves have won every CHL title since 1997, so it should come as no great surprise. Wyoming and Mariemont shared the crown with Indian Hill in 2003, but most years it’s been all about the ladies in red.
“We’re really strong at the singles position with Meredith Breda, Gracey Hirsch and Caroline Andersen,” coach Gary Samuels said.
A year ago, it was Breda, Hirsch and Andersen in that order. This season, Samuels did some rearranging with Andersen taking over first singles, Hirsch staying at second and Breda moving to third.
The four-year starter wasn’t initially happy with the move, but a lingering back injury helped her rationalize the move.
“I feel like I’m slowly getting back to normal,” Breda said. “It’s not totally healed. I have an old stress fracture on the right side of my back and a strained ligament. Worst case scenario was I would have to wear a brace. Thank God it was one of those things where I just had to be cautious. I’m doing a lot of physical therapy and weight training to strengthen it.”
If Breda’s injury has affected her playing, the numbers say otherwise. After a tough USTA summer season, she says the move to third singles has helped her confidence. As a result, she’s been virtually unstoppable at the No. 3 spot.
Truthfully, Samuels could probably put all three names in a hat and win with any combination of his singles players. They are more like 1-a, 1-b and 1-c. As a result, Indian Hill was ranked No. 2 in the state in the most recent Division II poll.
In making the call, Samuels went through three rounds of matches in tryouts to determine their placing.
“We played each other at least two or three times and the results were about the same,” Breda said. “I beat Caroline, Caroline beat Gracey, Gracey beat me. It kind of worked out. It’s good because we challenge each other.”
Andersen’s singles record has suffered as a result, but she realizes she’s been facing top-notch competition each time out. Most teams, at worst, have one solid singles player.
“It was difficult in the beginning,” Andersen said. “With Meredith’s injury, it kind of just made sense.”
Hirsch has also been impressive in second singles and will be a senior next year with an eye on the No. 1 spot. In doubles, the Lady Braves had to scramble, but came up with some reliable combinations.
“We lost four of our top five doubles players,” Samuels said. “Sarah Price came back and Amalia Guzman has stepped in really well. It took a while to settle in on the lineup. Second doubles is Maren McKenna and Nina Price, Sarah’s sister.”
Samuels has always relied on sisters and will have Gracey Hirsch’s younger sibling vying for a spot next season, along with a couple of other promising freshmen.
The Lady Braves always reload.
As for the postseason, Breda and Andersen finished third in Division II doubles two years ago and will likely pair up again after falling short of the state tourney last year.