The 2016 YAIAA girls’ tennis season is upon us.
Dallastown and Delone Catholic will be the favorites this season, but the new five-point scoring system could make things interesting and give some other teams a chance to make some noise.
Here is a look at the top-five teams heading into the season.
1. Dallastown: The reigning Division I champions return to protect their crown in 2016. While the Wildcats lose Angela Friedrich, their No. 2 player, and Chloe Berridge, their No. 3, they will have Christi Friedrich back on the court. Also returning are Madi Reed and Morgan Kistler. Christi Freidrich played a large part in Dallastown’s division title, and she competed in the league and District 3 tournament. The new five-point system for the upcoming year will be a new challenge for Dallastown, but they are the early-season favorite this year.
2. Delone Catholic: Coming off their first-ever Division II title, the Squirettes are ready to make some more noise this season. A bulk of the squad returns for the 2016 season, including Alyssa and Ellie Neudecker. The sisters will serve as Delone’s top-two players – Alyssa will be the No. 1 and Ellie will be the No. 2. Bridget Kilkelly and Emily Ritter will also be expected to step up, and Kilkelly could be tapped as part of the team’s No. 1 doubles pair.
3. York Suburban: The Trojans will be looking to capture a Division II crown after finishing second last season with just one divisional loss. Suburban returns a number of players with postseason experience, including Samantha Clancy, Dilly O’Donnell and Maddie Lenker. The Trojans finished seventh in the District 3 power rankings last season and qualified for the team district tournament. Clancy, O'Donnell and Lenker competed in the league singles tournament and Clancy made it to the district doubles tournament.
4. New Oxford: The Colonials are a team that could be vying for a Division-I title at the end of the year. New oxford has several players returning to the court for 2016, including first-team GameTimePA All-Star Dagney Markle. No. 2 Mikayla Lardello and No. 4 Rachel Groden will not return after graduating at the end of the school year. Brooklyn Moyer, Lindsey Fadenracht, Kamdyn Balko, Sarah Moyer and Maddie Markle will return from last year’s squad. Kasi Conjack could have a starting role for the Colonials as well.
5: South Western: The Mustangs are another team that will be competitive in Division I despite losing some key players from last season. South Western No. 1 Madison Bortner graduated, as did Regan Ford and Brooke Treadway who were their No. 3 and 4 players, respectively. However, they will get back Michaela Sentz and Sarbina Lam, both of whom helped them reach the District 3 team tournament. Head coach Karen Cracium will also be leaning on four-year player Paige Rudisill, Emily Newton and Livia Stremmel to help as well.