August 31, 2011
Purple Tigers hoping to improve behind veterans
A total of 10 players return for Bob Walrath’s Cortland High girls’ tennis team this season, which gets underway Thursday as the Purple Tigers visit Manlius Pebble Hill in a 4 p.m. start.
Junior Devon Tennant advanced to singles play in the Division II sectionals for CHS last fall and finished 4-4 on the season in singles for CHS, which wound up 2-6 in the OHSL Freedom Division and 3-7 overall.
Also back are seniors Brianna McAdams and Casey Rulison (5-5 together in doubles) and their classmates Svetlana Yarmolyuk, Maddie Dorward, Emalee Burkhard, Elizabeth Welsh, Taylor Grossi and Chu Qing (May) Zhu. Dorward, Rulison and Yarmolyuk are this season’s captains.
Lost to graduation were Inna Yanchuk (5-4 in singles, lost in the second round of singles at sectionals), Irena Priadoun (5-7 singles), Daisy Bush, Kim Cornell and Layah Cullip.
Newcomers this fall are senior Oksana Salashnaya, juniors Tanya Shevchuk and Ruohann (Hanna) Zhang and sophomores Marissa DeFranco, Katie Klinger and Annie Steve.
“We have a good core group to build around, with some experience and skill,” Walrath said. “The newcoming players add some depth that is pushing the returning players to improve.
“As the season develops my predictions are that, since we are pretty evenly-skilled, that we will continue to steadily improve, rotate people in positions to gain valuable experience as starters and that we can compete gamely each and every match we play. This is an exceptionally good group of young ladies to work with.”
Walrath said that Syracuse CBA, Chittenango and Jamesville-DeWitt look to be the top teams in the Freedom Division this fall.
As for Thursday’s starting lineup, Walrath said that Dorward would play first singles, Tennant second singles and Shevchuk third singles. Yarmolyuk and McAdams will be the first doubles tandem, with Rulison and Burkhard at second doubles. Salashnaya and Welsh are the third doubles duo, and Steve and Zhang will combine for fourth doubles.
Lara Almansberger will coach the junior varsity team again this season.
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