YAIAA girls' tennis preview: Dallastown appears ready for title defense
Deb Gable's program once ran off a string of seven straight YAIAA Division I championships. In total, the Wildcats won 10 in 12 seasons from 2000 to 2011.
They entered last year in a bit of a rut.
Two straight years without a title, and Gable's bunch was young: two juniors, who excelled as doubles partners, and a promising freshman to go with another experienced junior. With those four back, all of a sudden Dallastown looks for league title No. 12 since the turn of the century.
Gable has seen most of them but took over the program amid that seven-year run.
"Deb Gable runs a great program, and she is going to have a very strong team this year," Susquehannock coach Marianne Michels said.
A former assistant, Gable took over the program amid its seven-year run. Now she will have two assistants who led past teams' success, Melissa Plowman and Katie Westenberger.
They will oversee a team that includes four returning starters, including sisters Angela and Christie Friedrich, junior Madi Reed and senior Chloe Berridge.
"I do think they're a deep team," Gable said before the season, "but I have no idea how the lineup will shape up with so much competition."
Players to watch
MADDIE BORTNER, SOUTH WESTERN, SR. >> A returning starter for the Mustangs, who lost only twice in Division I, Bortner will likely assume the No. 1 spot vacated by the graduated Rachel Fabrick. Bortner was an eight seed for last year's league tournament.
ANGELA FRIEDRICH, DALLASTOWN, SR. >> Friedrich and her sister, Christie, were the only YAIAA duo to advance past the first round of last year's District 3 doubles tournament. They also won the league's AAA doubles title. Individually, Angela was the league's sixth seed in AAA and reached the league quarterfinals.
CHRISTIE FRIEDRICH, DALLASTOWN, JR. >> Of the Wildcats' returning players, Christie, is one of the few multi-sport athletes of the bunch and runs track. She reached the league quarterfinals last year as an unseeded player.
DAGNEY MARKLE, NEW OXFORD, JR. >> Will be the No. 1 player this fall for the Colonials, who finished 11-5 overall and in the top half of Division I during YAIAA play. She received honorable mention for the GameTimePA.com All-YAIAA tennis team.
ALYSSA MILLER, KENNARD-DALE, SR. >> A state tournament qualifier in doubles with Evan Boone, Miller could be an early favorite in the YAIAA Class AA field.
ALYSSA NEUDECKER, DELONE CATHOLIC, JR. >> Neudecker will enter her third year as a starter for the Squirettes and entered last year's league tournament as the No. 4 seed in Class AA.
YVONNE PETERS-WASHINGTON, CENTRAL YORK, SR. >> A transfer from State College, Peters-Washington reached last year's PIAA quarterfinals and won a District 6 title.
LAURA ZIELINSKI, NORTHEASTERN, SR. >> The runner-up for last year's Class AAA league crown should be considered the new favorite. She lost only once during the regular season, which came in that YAIAA final vs. Susquehannock's Usha Baublitz. This will be Zielinski's third season as the Bobcats' No. 1 player.
YAIAA TOURNAMENT >> Singles tournaments for Class AA and AAA run Oct. 9, 10 and 12 at a site to be determined. Doubles tournaments will be played Oct. 13 and 14. The top three from each YAIAA tournament — AA, AAA, singles and doubles — qualifies for district play.
DISTRICT 3 TOURNAMENTS >> All at Hershey Racquet Club. Saturday, Oct. 17 and Monday, Oct. 19 for singles. Friday, Oct. 23 and Saturday, Oct. 24 for doubles. Team tournaments begin Thursday, Oct. 15 and be played on days in which there are no individual or doubles matches (Oct. 16, 20, 21, 22).
Division I breakdown
DEFENDING CHAMP >> Dallastown
The Wildcats won the division by going undefeated in league play and handing Central York its only loss in Division I.
ASCENDING >> Central York, New Oxford
With the addition of Yvonne Peters-Washington, the Panthers became considerably tougher. They already had last year's No. 1 back in sophomore Maddie Mummert, a seventh seed for last year's league Class AAA tourney. Central has all but two players back from a team that lost only once in the league — to Dallastown.
"When we lose to Dallastown it's a 4-3 match," Central coach Brad Andrews said, "and when we win it's always a 4-3 match."
Four starters are back for coach Travis Martin's New Oxford squad. That includes Dagney Markle at No. 1 and Brooke Moyer at No. 2.
SHOES TO FILL >> Susquehannock, South Western
The Warriors graduated YAIAA Class AAA champion Usha Baublitz, who finished 21-1 as a senior. Jessica Donald, a junior this fall, teamed with Baublitz and will likely see the No. 1 spot at Susquehannock. Coach Marianne Michels expects senior Kristin Endres and juniors Jenni Sproul and Emily Snyder — all returning starters — to compete in singles.
At South Western, Fabrick was the No. 1 and finished fourth in YAIAA Class AAA tournament play, but two others graduated: Cassidy Mart and Brooke Gotwalt. Coach Karen Cracium will lean on senior Brooke Treadway and junior Sabrina Lam to fill voids with Bortner.
Division II breakdown
DEFENDING CHAMP >> York Catholic
Like Dallastown in Division I, York Catholic swept through league play in Division II while denying YAIAA-newcomer Gettysburg for its only loss.
ASCENDING >> Kennard-Dale
Rams seniors Alyssa Miller and Evan Boone reached the PIAA doubles tournament last year after finishing second in the district for Class AA. As a team, Kennard-Dale lost just twice in league play and finished 11-3 overall. While they succeeded for the Rams, coach Jennifer Abbott will need to plug new faces elsewhere into her lineup.
SHOES TO FILL >> York Catholic, York Suburban, Biglerville
Like with Baublitz for Susquehannock, the Fighting Irish graduated a league champ in Class AA's Sarah Koury and No. 2 standout Catherine Vizzard. As the league's seventh seed last year, Vizzard played her way into the YAIAA final vs. Koury.
Not too far away at Suburban, the Trojans lost their top three players from an 8-3 team. However, coach Rebecca Toman said there was a "log jam" at Nos. 4-7. She expects stiff competition for the top five.
Biglerville lost Jenna Glass, who entered last year's YAIAA tournament as the No. 2 seed.
Contact Matt Goul at 771-2045.