Every August for the past three years, two of the top girls’ tennis programs have participated in a friendly scrimmage just prior to the regular season. Those two programs, Mount Notre Dame and Lakota West, took in that practice Friday at the high school located in West Chester Township.
“My expectation is that we will continue to compete at the top like we have the last few years,” Lakota West head coach Bryan Skoog said. “In terms on how we will finish, will probably come down to those matches against top teams.”
Skoog’s Firebirds were practicing against one of the area’s top teams and top players in 2010 singles state champion junior Sandy Niehaus. In addition to Niehaus, who was named the Girls’ Greater Cincinnati League Scarlet Girls’ Tennis Athlete of the Year in 2010, MND also returns senior Brooke Dennis (GGCL First Team in ’10) and junior Sydney Landers (GGCL Second Team in 2010).
“With great leadership through experience and other players’ performances in the offseason, we have a good chance to compete in the GGCL,” said MND head coach Judy Dennis, whose team finished in third place in the GGCL last season.
Lakota West, which finished in second place in the Greater Miami Conference last fall, also returns its top players in sophomore Brooke Broda (GMC First Team in ’10), junior Nicole Souter (GMC Second Team in ’10) and sophomore Madison Capovilla (GMC Second in ’10). Broda actually defeated Neihaus during the regular season in 2010. She also finished the year with a 28-3 overall record and competed in the singles state tournament.
“Whenever you return with the top of your lineup, you can’t help to be excited,” Skoog said.
Skoog is not only expecting a lot from his returning players, he is also excited about his newcomers, who include freshman Sharon Danquah, freshman Lindsey Shafner, sophomore Katie Dunlap and sophomore Danielle Clarke.
Danquah (photo – click to enlarge) is expected to compete for playing time at singles for the Firebirds, while Shafner, Dunlap and Clarke will play doubles. Playing alongside the newcomers on the doubles courts will be senior and team leader Kat Rivers.
Lakota West will begin its season Wednesday at Ursuline. The Firebirds are scheduled to host Mount Notre Dame Sept. 7.