Main Line girls’ tennis squads ready to net victories this fall

A sizable number of Main Line high school girls’ tennis teams enjoyed successful campaigns last fall, among them Academy of Notre Dame (12-2), Agnes Irwin (10-2, Inter-Ac co-champions), Baldwin School (8-4), Conestoga (20-4, undefeated in Central League, advanced to PIAA state semifinals), Episcopal Academy (11-3, Inter-Ac co-champions), Harriton (16-6 overall, 10-1 in the Central League), Lower Merion (12-6), Radnor (14-4) and Shipley (11-5 overall, 8-1 Friends Schools League).
This fall, the talent on the Main Line high school girls’ tennis scene should be as strong as ever. Here’s an early-season look at the Main Line high school girls’ tennis teams:

Academy of Notre Dame
Head coach: Steve Hall, eighth year.
Last year’s record: 12-2 overall, 4-2 InterAc.
Key returnees: junior Grace Leasure (was first singles last fall), senior Anne Marie Crinnion (third singles last fall), senior Audrey Hart (first doubles last fall).
Others to watch: freshman McKenna Bramlage.
Lost to graduation: Meredith Hughes (second singles), Emily Schanz (third doubles), Mackenzie Kennedy (fourth doubles).
Outlook: Hall said, “We will very strong at singles. The most important factor to our team success will be getting contributions from all of our doubles teams throughout the season.”

Agnes Irwin
Head coach: Wendy Short, 11th year.
Last year’s record: 10-2 overall, 5-1 InterAc.
Key returnees: senior first singles Camille Smukler, sophomore third singles Kayla Neary, sophomore first doubles Lexi Short.
Outlook: Short said, “This year we will experience significant changes with only three returning starters due to graduation and other factors. However, I am confident in the abilities of the girls who are trying out. There is some young talent [here], and I can’t wait to see them compete.”

Archbishop Carroll
Head coach: Casey Robinson, first year.
Key returnees: Senior Yvonne Lewis (first singles).
Others to watch: sophomores Sarah Grosso (second singles) and Katie Detwiler (third singles).
Outlook: Robinson said, “We have a very hard-working group of girls this season who never give in or give up, no matter what the score is. All of them are very athletic and driven to get better. We have a lot of hard-working girls this year who really want to improve as much as possible.”

Baldwin School
Head coach: Jeff Sacks, 10th year.
Last year’s record: 8-4 overall, 3-3 InterAc.
Key Returnees: junior first singles Emma Sass, senior second singles Isabel Senior, sophomore third singles Lauren Wang.
Others to watch: junior first doubles Ari Hairston, senior second doubles Julia Greitzer, senior second doubles Davis Madeja, junior third doubles Alexa Bartels, sophomore fourth doubles Caroline Buchner.
Lost to graduation: Ali Thaler (first doubles), Jasmine Syed (third doubles), Rachel Dichter (fourth doubles).
Outlook: Sacks said, “Our top three singles players return from last year, as well as five out of eight doubles players. We hope to capitalize on the returning players’ experience from last year, improve and compete for our third Inter-Ac title in five years. Every Inter-Ac team has improved. Winning a 4-3 match versus losing a 4-3 match should ultimately determine the Inter-Ac champion.”

Head coach Fran Tomaselli, 39th year.
Last year’s record: 20-4 overall, 11-0 Central League, advanced to PIAA state semifinals.
Key returnees: senior Julia Herman(third singles last year, probably doubles this year); sophomore Maddie Wood (first doubles last year, probably singles this year); senior Hannah Ashton (doubles); senior Nour Elkassabany (doubles); sophomore Nina Herman (doubles); junior Sarah Aboseada (doubles).
Others to watch: freshman Ashley Griffith (singles), freshman Cassidy Landau (singles), freshman Priya Aravindhan (doubles).
Lost to graduation: Kaylee Yan (first singles), Lindsay Taffe (first doubles), Chrissy Walton (third doubles), Katie Ryan (fourth doubles). Also lost to injury sophomore Amy Zhang (second singles last year).
Outlook: Tomaselli said, “Once again I feel that we will be a very deep team, due to a large influx of talented ninth graders and the improvement of our returning players. The biggest key will be the ability of our freshmen to handle the pressure. I think we should be contenders once again for the league title.”

Episcopal Academy
Head coach: Whitaker Powell, 15th year.
Last year’s record: 11-3 overall, 5-1 InterAc (co-champions).
Key returnees: senior Nadiyah Browning, second singles; senior Bella Echevarria, third singles; senior Haley Potter, first doubles; senior Kaity Tarte, first doubles; junior Nina Stavropolous, second doubles; junior Emily Beinkampen, third doubles; junior Eloise Nimoityn, third doubles; sophomore Sam Macrides, fourth doubles.
Others to watch: freshman Bella Calastri.
Lost to graduation: Genevieve McCormick (was first singles, InterAc singles champion, first team All-Main Line and All-Delco Player of the Year, now playing at United States Military Academy); Kara Madey (fourth doubles).
Outlook: Powell said, “The key to our team this year will be depth. Obviously the loss of Genevieve [McCormick] is a huge hole to fill but Nadiyah is ready to assume the No. 1 singles role and we are fortunate in that the remainder of our regulars return and, in most cases with their normal doubles partners. The experience, as teams, will be valuable in a strong league. The amount of success we ultimately have will depend on the development of some of our younger players and how they embrace a more important role on the team. We finished the year on a high note and will look to build that momentum. We have four outstanding seniors who provide tremendous leadership and experience that we will lean heavily on.”

Friends’ Central
Head coach: Alex Margolies, first year.
Last year’s record: 6-9 overall, 3-3 Friends’ Schools League.
Key returnees: junior Zoe Ginsburg (first singles), senior Madeleine Coss (third singles), junior Leah Harris (doubles), junior Laura Barr (doubles).
Others to watch: freshman Skye Victor (second singles), freshman Julia Nierenberg (doubles), junior Sophie Berger (doubles), senior Elizabeth Raphaely (doubles).
Lost to graduation: Madison Roshkoff (third singles), Hannah Kaminsky (doubles), Saoirse Hahn (doubles).
Outlook: Margolies said, “We have a lot of depth on our roster and we are a young team. I believe the upperclassmen see the potential of our squad and therefore everyone is motivated, determined and very focused during preseason. We are not focused on our record but we want to improve. We want to embrace competition. Personally, I believe these young and talented girls are ready to compete at the necessary level to be successful.”

Head coach: David Broida, first year.
Last year’s record: 16-6 overall, 10-1 Central League (second place).
Key players: The Rams’ top three singles players are all talented freshmen: Sophia Sassoli (first singles), Connie Richards (second singles) and Nina Hoog (third singles). Sophomore Sophia Kandoussi, the Rams’ fourth-ranked player, will play both singles and doubles. Filling out the doubles lineup are seniors Gabrielle Kontra, Sophia Kontra, Nell Jones and Alex Ladda; juniors Sonia Groeneveld and Kit Meiler; sophomores Emma Anisman, Eva Blagovic  and Katie Lee; and freshmen Lauren Binnion and Erika Lutz.
Lost to graduation: Rachel Benstock (first singles), Becca Shapiro: (second singles), Gav Rubenstein (first doubles, now playing tennis for Franklin and Marshall), Melissa Krouse (second doubles), Sydney Bookstaver (second doubles).
Outlook: Broida said, “Sophia Sassoli, Connie Richards and Nina Hoog are all USTA tournament players who train with top local tennis pros. Our fourth-ranked player, Sophia Kandoussi, is also a USTA tournament player. In our first two matches, the singles players won all in two sets, losing a total of only 12 games – a very strong showing. We look forward to a winning season.”

Haverford High
Head coach: Charlie Withers, second year.
Last year’s record: 4-7.
Key returnees: junior first singles Morgane Wojtowicz, junior second singles Nellie O’Leary, junior first doubles Katie Burhop, junior first doubles Jillian Bernstein, senior second doubles Maddie Pelchat, junior third doubles Sloan Longo, junior third doubles Bridget Mullarkey, senior fourth doubles Kelly Burke, senior fourth doubles Cathy Kim.
Others to watch: junior third singles Autumn Francis. junior second doubles Maura White.
Lost to graduation: Megha Nagaswami (played first singles), Erica Cunningham (fourth doubles).
Outlook: Wither said, “Our team is looking forward to building on the foundation of hard work and dedication that we started last season with a strong emphasis on the game’s fundamentals. The biggest keys to our success as a team will be a strong emphasis on fundamentals and the players’ continued belief and camaraderie with one another.”

Lower Merion
Head coach: David O’Connell, fourth year.
Last year’s record: 12-6 overall, 8-3 Central League (fourth place).
Key returnees: junior Simone Burde (first singles), junior Neve Brennan (second singles), senior Allie Rauch (doubles), sophomore Kloe Rosenberg (doubles), junior Haley Kofsky (doubles), junior Sarah Lipson (doubles), sophomore Chloe Spergel (doubles), junior Holly Yu (doubles), junior Sarah Beller-Grossman (doubles).
Others to watch: junior Cristina Bermudez (transfer from Fox Chapel High School), freshman Jenna Mancuso, freshman Aasha Gupta, junior Lexi Ginsberg.
Lost to graduation: Noa Seligsohn, Emma Gogarnoiu, Nina Pant.
Outlook: Last year’s team qualified for the District 1 team tournament and was defeated by Central League champ Conestoga by a 3-2 score. The addition of Cristina Bermudez, a transfer from Fox Chapel High School, has helped to solidify the singles lineup. The key to success will be how the doubles teams shape up as the Central League season gets underway.  The team has a tough non-league schedule which includes district champ West Chester Henderson and perennially strong programs such as Wissahickon and North Penn. O’Connell said, “Last year’s successes will hopefully prepare [us] for a strong league season.”

Head coach: Patrick Kurz, first year.
Last year’s record: 14-4 overall, 9-2 Central League.
Key returnees: senior Alice Lehr (third singles), senior Kara O’Malley (first doubles), senior Norah Xiong (first doubles), junior Jessica Lin (second singles).
Others to watch: junior Grace Hederick (first singles), junior Quinn Flannery (second doubles), junior Grace Moore (second doubles), junior Sasha Smolyansky (third doubles).
Lost to graduation: Amber Song (first doubles), Camille Ernaelsteen (first doubles), Cassidy Brown (third doubles).
Outlook: Kurz said, “I believe we will be a stronger team this year with the addition of Grace Hederick and a solid line up in doubles, which was our strength last year. Our league matches against Garnet Valley, Lower Merion, Harriton and Conestoga will be important to our success.”

Sacred Heart
Head coach: Suzanne Barr, third year.
Last year’s record: 7-7 in the AACA.
Key returnees: sophomore Marcella  Marino (first singles), junior Emily Robinson (second singles), senior captain Zoe Fisher (third singles), senior captains Sarah Shavo and Tiara Canty (first doubles), seniors Leila Haddad and Katie Donnelly (second doubles).
Others to watch: freshmen Caroline Lewers and Mya Lockings (third doubles).
Lost to graduation: Taylor Nyugen (playing for St. Joseph’s University).
Outlook: The Lions are off to a solid start, with wins in two of their first four matches.

Head coach: Shannon Hazell, ninth year.
Last year’s record: 11-5 overall, 8-1 Friends Schools League.
Key returnees: senior Britt Lovett (first singles), senior McKinley Lovett (second singles).
Others to watch: junior Taylor Dumas (first doubles), Brooke Robinson (second doubles), junior Kate Aschenasy, freshman Emma Menkowitz, freshman Isabella Scardapane.
Lost to graduation: Rachael Grobmann (first doubles), Sophie Pilkington (first doubles), Elizabeth Menkowitz (second doubles), Jordan Gottlieb (second doubles).
Outlook: Hazell said, “We still have a strong singles line despite a large graduating class. Captains and twin sisters, Britt and McKinley Lovett, have been playing on the varsity since their freshman year and will do a great job leading the team. Although we don’t have the depth we have had in previous years, this team still has a lot of experience.”

Villa Maria Academy
Head coach: Brittany Aimone, second year.
Last year’s record: 6-10 overall, 4-10 AACA.
Key returnees: senior first singles Kate Sweeney, senior second singles Reagan Hatcher, senior first doubles Kaylee Ouimet, senior second doubles Allie Monaco, junior second doubles Jacquelyn Shanley.
Others to watch: junior third singles Cecilia Logan, junior first doubles Brenna Murray.
Lost to graduation: Danielle Rufus (played first singles), Jillian Ballard (second doubles).
Strengths: Aimone said the Hurricanes’ chief strength is depth: “Most of the girls have returned, so they have had a lot of varsity experience and are all mentally tough on court.”

(Merion Mercy Academy chose not to submit a tennis preview this fall.)

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