There is some redemption on the line for the Wilmington High School girls tennis team in 2018.
For the first time “in a very long time,” the Lady Hurricane had a losing record (9-10) in 2017.
And for the first time since 2011, “We didn’t finish as league champions or runnersup,” coach Doug Cooper said.
“Our players have a lot to prove and they have worked hard in preparation for this season,” said Cooper.
However, redemption and rebuilding don’t always go together. And that’s what Cooper and the Lady Hurricane face this fall.
“This will be a rebuilding year,” Cooper admits.
Last year, WHS was third in the American Division. Sophie Reed graduate and Brooklyn Nielsen has moved out of the school district. Nielsen and Emma Schroeder were No. 4 seeds as a double team in the Centerville Sectional tournament last fall. Nielsen won 42 matches in two varsity seasons which is good enough for fourth on the school’s all-time wins list, Cooper said.
“(Brooklyn) was our most consistent player and will be missed,” said Cooper, who is assisted by junior varsity coach Keith Gilbert and Steve Reed.
Cooper has coached tennis at WHS 10 years, six of those as the girls head coach with a 64-42 record.
The top returnees for the Lady Hurricane are Schroeder, Allie Kees, Zane Bekheet and Kristina Walt. Claire Burns and Jenna Taylor are among the newcomers produced by the Wilmington Area Tennis Association program.
”There has been a lot of hard work (fitness) and preparation (tennis skills) during the off-season that has shown so far in our early practices, both from our returning players and our incoming freshmen,” said Cooper. “I see lots of respect for each other among our players. I like how well our new players are showing fast improvement even as they learn the game.
“We play a very challenging non-conference schedule and I know how important success in our conference play is to our returning varsity players.”
Cooper picks Goshen to be the repeat American Division champions, returning the best singles line-up from last season’s unbeaten league champs.