Cards hope to take the next step in girls tennis

Photo courtesy of Br. Ralph Lebel Bishop Guertin's Claire Reynolds, the 2017 Telegraph Player of the Year, is back to lead the Cardinals again this season.

Sometimes winning is a matter of progression.

That’s what Bishop Guertin High School girls tennis coach Barry Ndinya is hoping.

The season gets underway this week with the Cardinals hoping to go deep into the Division I tournament. They won 10 matches a year ago but were stopped cold by Derryfield in the quarterfinals.

“We definitely want to go further than that,” Ndinya said. “This team has a lot more depth. We’re very excited.”

And that depth begins at the top with last year’s Telegraph Player of the Year, sophomore Claire Reynolds. Reynolds won 12 regular season matches and also made the individual semis in singles and doubles. Not a bad place to start.

Keep an eye also on Nashua South, which has a host of returnees from a team that just missed the tourney at 9-5. Nashua North is rebuilding, while Merrimack has a couple of key returnees but it will depend on depth. Alvirne has a half dozen players back from last year, so improvement should be in the offing.

In Division II, Souhegan made the semis a year ago has a handful of returnees who could get them back to the tournament, but it won’t be easy. Hollis Brookline is young and Milford has nowhere to go but up after a tough season last. And, while there is no Wilton-Lyndeborough boys team this year, the Warriors will field a girls team as 25-year coach Betsy Sullivan is back with a young group with a few solid returnees. “My veteran players will take on the challenge of whatever position they’re in and give it their best effort,” Sullivan said.

Here’s a look at how the locals will approach the season that gets underway for some on Monday:

DIVISION I

ALVIRNE

COACH: Jen Ruigrok (sixth year)

2017: Did not qualify for tournament.

RETURNING PLAYERS: Sara Yi, jr.; Jess Lortie, sr.; Emma Beals, sr.; Sara Ruigrok, so.; Alyssa Badalato, sr.; Ellie Ochieng, so.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Tammi Greenlaw, Brittany Whiting, Felicia Manzi.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “We’ve got six returning players this are are looking forward to an improved season,” Ruigrok said.

BISHOP GUERTIN

COACH: Barry Ndinya (fifth year).

2017: 10-4, lost to Derryfield in quarterfinals.

RETURNING STARTERS: Claire Reynolds, so.; Elizabeth Janiak, so.; Margo Liakos, so.; Natalie Sheehy, so.

OTHER RETURNING LETTER WINNERS: Natalie Dionne, sr.; Francesca Paparrello, sr.; Elise Roy, sr.; Sithara Nambiar, sr.; Alex Conceicao, jr.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Katelyn Nichols, fr.; Hannah Gilbertson, fr.; Amy Maalouf, fr.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “I’m very excited about this team,” Ndinya said. “It’s really an improvement from last year, with a little more depth.”

MERRIMACK

COACH: Sue Cloutier (seventh year)

2017: 3-11, did not qualify for tournament.

RETURNING STARTERS: McKenzy Miller, sr.; Eliza Gustafson, sr.; Abby Fay, jr.; Devon Mitchell, jr.

OTHER RETURNING LETTER WINNERS: Allorah Bowman, jr.; Katelyn McCarthy, jr.; Madalyn Curran, so.; Camyra Gage, so.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Sarah Hardy, fr.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “This spring we welcome numberous beginners,” Cloutier said. “As always, MHS focuses on doubles.”

NASHUA NORTH

COACH: Bob Viens (sixth season).

2017: 6-8, did not qualify for tournament.

RETURNING STARTERS: Brenna Rose, sr.; Elizabeth Dion, sr.; Brooke Bakhit, so.; Gabrielle Laferriere, so.

OTHER RETURNING LETTER WINNERS: Tiffany Tejeda, so.; Michelyn Odei, so.; Summer Metcalf, so.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: None

COACH’S COMMENTS: “It’s pretty much a rebuilding year,” Viens said. “We have 10 new players who have very little tennis background. … Captains Brenna Rose and Elizabeth Dion are looking strong and should have a good year.”

NASHUA SOUTH

COACH: Charles Gray (third year).

2017: 9-5, did not qualify for tournament.

RETURNING STARTERS: Meghana Avvaru, jr.; Kaitlin Fitzgibbons, so.; Nora Goldenberg, sr.; Shrijaa Mohan, so.; Kavya Phadke, jr.; Pallavi Ravada sr.

OTHER RETURNING LETTER WINNERS: Jiyun Lee, so.; Samantha Meyer, jr.; Katherine Tello, jr.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Yuvika Akkineni, fr.; Sahana Darbhamulla, fr.; Priya Shokeen, fr.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “Our team is a little more experienced this year,” Gray said, “but we’re still fairly young. We want to improve on our record and reach the playoffs.”

DIVISION II

HOLLIS BROOKLINE

COACH: Marie Salamone (ninth year).

2017: 9-5, lost to Windham in quartefinals.

RETURNING STARTERS: Emily Spooner, sr.; Julia Stam, sr.; Sam Randlett, jr.

OTHER RETURNING LETTER WINNERS: None.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Delaney Wiemer, fr.; Aya Kingsley, fr.; Lia Eisenberg, fr.; Natasha Ferro, fr.; Samantha Morse, fr.; Cassie Farnworth, fr.; Lily McAdams, fr.; Lindsey Wood, jr.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “This is a rebuilding year,” Salamone said. “We have a young team this year. … From wht I’ve seen, we have some promising freshmen, who are eager to learn and have tremendous skill.”

MILFORD

COACH: Nancy McManus (fifth year).

2017: 0-14, did not qualify for tournament.

RETURNING STARTERS: Katie Brown, Sabrina Brown, Sydney Kolasinski, Cami Peterson, Bri Phalon.

OTHER RETURNING LETTER WINNERS: Rachel Statz, Kayla Sickler.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Grace Carpenter, Heather Hager, Leslie McGrath.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “We’re looking strong this year with some talented freshman players in addition to our returning players,” McManus said.

SOUHEGAN

COACH: Bo Dean (third year).

2017: 11-3, lost to Windham in semis.

RETURNING STARTERS: Lila Morgan, jr.; Abby Tesconi, sr.; Lexi Weisberg, jr.; Izzy Blume, sr.

OTHER RETURNING LETTER WINNERS: None.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Anna Goyette, fr.; Sofia Husainy, sr.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “Due to graduation losses, we’ll struggle to duplicate last year’s record,” Dean said, “But I have confidence that our players will work hard and be very competitive.”

DIVISION III

WILTON-LYNDEBOROUGH

COACH: Betsy Sullivan (26th year).

2017: 4-14, did not qualify for tournament.

RETURNING STARTERS: Jackie Bird, sr.; Emma Krug, jr.; Erin McDonald, eighth grade.

OTHER RETURNING LETTER WINNERS: None.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Lauren Stevens, jr.; Lexi Marcott, jr.; Anna Levesque, eighth grade.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “We are indeed a team that is a work in progress,” Sullivan said. “This team works well with each other and the veteran playersare quick to give encouragement and help to those who are just learning.”