The varsity girl’s tennis team at Manhattan High has a lot to live up to after last year’s successful season.
Despite taking second at regionals last fall, the entire Indian squad advanced to state, where they finished seventh.
Just two girls return from that team — senior Anne Roberson and sophomore Kristen Fraley — which is hoping to reload with some new faces and return to the state tournament.
“Taking everybody to state was just really special,” head coach Joyce Allen said. “I’m hopeful that we can do that again. We’ll have some lows, but all that really matters is what happens at regionals.”
The team graduated its top singles player Kayla Fraley, its No. 1 doubles tandem Erin Kruse and Maddy Johnson, as well as Roberson’s doubles partner Annie Hodges, leaving plenty of holes to fill. But the team does return several lettermen, including Claire Freeby, Carly Tracz, Kaitlin Wichmann and Caroline Sager.
The team has seen an influx of seniors — nine total — with several girls new to the program.
The roster includes just one freshman, Catherine Lei, but Allen has been impressed with her ability so far.
“We only have one freshman, but she’s pretty good,” Allen said. “She’s at the varsity level right now.”
After practicing for two weeks, Allen said she has a broad picture of what her varsity team might look like . She anticipates having a more firm picture of what the varsity squad will look like after the second meet of the season on Aug. 30.
Overall, Allen is optimistic about her team’s chances to make a splash at the highest level this year.
“We are just really excited to get going,” Allen said. “They’re a really good group of girls and are such nice young ladies. It’s really a joy to coach them and be out with them everyday.”
The girl’s tennis team gets its season underway Monday with a home dual against Topeka High at 3 p.m.