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2020 GIRLS TENNIS PREVIEW: Team-by-team capsules
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The Lambert girls tennis team celebrates with the No. 1 doubles pair of Taylor Despriet (far left) and Katie Lewis after defeating Milton for the Class 7A state championship on May 6, 2019 at Lambert High School. - photo by Ian Frazer

Denmark

Coach: Courtney Jewett, second season

Last season: Lost in first round of Class 4A playoffs.

Key returners: Madison Stephens, Sr.; Kavya Kathiravan, Jr.; Anjani Dabkara, Jr.; Shannon Rosle, Jr.; Andra Birliga, Jr.

Key newcomers: Masha Karach, So.; Alyssa Rasmussen, Fr.; Lilly DuToit, Fr.; Olivia McMahon, Fr.

What to know: In its first season of competition, Denmark made the state playoffs, and while the Danes return all seven of the players that contributed to that run, they’re still young and have yet to play in a higher-stakes environment.

 

Forsyth Central

Coach: Allison Hankinson, first season

Last season: Missed Class 7A playoffs.

Key returners: Laney Benson, Sr.; Anushka Pal, Sr.; Emma Stevenson, Sr.

Key newcomers: Noelle Iglesias, So.; Skylar Parker, Fr.

What to know: With most of Central’s returners being seniors, there’s certainly experience to go around in Allison Hankinson’s first season as head coach. However, the Bulldogs are still working to find a lineup that works for doubles, as they don’t really have teams that have played together there.

 

Lambert

Coach: Lois Mickles, ninth season

Last season: Won Class 7A state championship.

Key returners: Brooke Despreit, Jr.; Katie Lewis, Jr.; Kate Dufresne, Sr.; Kaitlyn Hoxie, Sr.

Key newcomers: Jenna Eskew, Sr.; Kate Winters, Sr.; Nina Zhao, Jr.; Catherine Townsend, Sr.

What to know: Coming off a state title, Lambert looks to have a good chance to be in the mix for another. The No. 1 doubles team of Brooke Despreit and Katie Lewis that clinched last year’s championship will return as well as seven other players with experience. While the Longhorns are a cohesive unit, there will still be some fine tuning needed for some of those returners at their respective positions.

North Forsyth

Coach: Heather Moore, ninth season

Last season: Missed Class 7A playoffs.

Key returners: Mallorie Black, Sr.; Kylie Koch, Jr.; Caitlin Mooneyham, So.

Key newcomers: Sydney Vaughan, Jr.; Maggie Martin, Jr.; Natalie Hubbard, Jr.

What to know: The Raiders will be led by Mallorie Black in the No. 1 singles position. While head coach Heather Moore sees a lot of talent on her team, there are several newcomers and there may be an adjustment period, as most of North’s players don’t play year-round.

 

Pinecrest Academy

Coach: Erin McGraw, fifth season

Last season: Missed Class 1A Private playoffs.

Key returners: Mandy Luong, Sr.; Mackenzie Austin, So.; Brigitte Lueder, Jr.

Key newcomers: Katie Tabak, So.; Katie O’Rourke, So.; Jina Li, So.; Claire Hoover, So.

What to know: The Paladins are a very young group, but they do boast some experience with a number of sophomore returners, like Mackenzie Austin that have been on the team since middle school. It will be a tough road for Pinecrest to make the playoffs, but the Paladins will be looking to continue improving.

 

South Forsyth

Coach: Shari Frankel, eighth season

Last season: Lost in Class 7A quarterfinals.

Key returners: Ashton Morrison, Sr.; Deniz Karaca, Sr.; Ansley Morrison, So.; Brooke Yarbrough, Jr.; Bailey McDaniel, Jr.

Key newcomers: Eva Stepnicka, Jr.; Bianca Jayaraman, Jr.; Emilie Forman, So.

What to know: The War Eagles are coming off an appearance in the state quarterfinals, and will bring back some key returners from that team, including Georgia College and State University signee Ashton Morrison.

 

West Forsyth

Coach: Steve Kolkka, third season

Last season: Lost in second round of Class 7A state playoffs.

Key returners: Shea Connelly, Sr.; Brui Laidman, Jr.; Aspyn Butler, Sr.; Fiona Finn, Sr.; Sandy Terry, Sr.; Gabriella Rodriguez, Sr.

Key newcomers: Lily Connelly, Fr.; Abbylin Laprise, Fr.; Emma Harp, Jr.

What to know: West made the playoffs last year behind an experienced group, and with a 2020 team that looks to boast depth and strength, the Wolverines are looking to make an even deeper run. Shea Connelly will lead the singles team in the No. 1 spot, while senior Aspyn Butler and freshman Abbylin Laprise will combine for the lead doubles spot.