CLAYTON — Despite the loss of two key players that moved out of state the Northmont Girls Tennis Team hopes to repeat its solid showing from last year when the team finished second in the Central Division of the Greater Western Ohio Conference with a 17-3 overall and 4-1 division record.
The team has five returning varsity players: senior Akilah Parker at first singles, Marissa Anderson at second singles, Kennedy Harden at third singles, and first doubles players Michelle Hibbard and Morgan Grandfield.
Parker, who was the GWOC Athlete of the Year in 2014 went 17-2 overall but lost in the first round of the district tournament to the eventual state champion, Cassidy Hicks of Hamilton.
Last year the Lady Bolts only division loss came at the hands of Beavercreek, a team they hope to knock off this season.
Northmont Coach Chrissy Hall feels it will be a three team race in the Central this year between Northmont, Centerville and Beavercreek.
Sophomore Serenity Anderson is a new player that shows promise according to Hall along with sophomore Lauren Kelsey, who is playing her first year of tennis, sophomore Whitney White and Molly Buchanan, a junior.
“All four of those players are fighting for the last two varsity spots at second doubles,” Hall said. “I’ve been changing the girls in and out of the lineup depending on how they practice each week. Those are my new faces that are going to need to improve a lot. Senior Morgan Grandfield has played in a few varsity matches over the years, but she has really stepped up and played very well at first doubles. She was able to fill that void that was left from last year.”
Two potential varsity players, Emily Molen and her younger sister, probably would have been Hall’s choice to have at first doubles but their family relocated to Florida.
“With that lineup we felt like we could have competed with anyone in the area,” Hall said. “Right now we are just going to have to wait and see how quickly our doubles teams develop. We beat Troy, which was a good win for us, and we lost a close match to Bellbrook, so I feel like we can contend for first place in our division again this year.”