Franklin County’s and Western Hills’ girls tennis teams are in rebuilding mode, but both squads are doing quite nicely as the season gets underway.
The Lady Flyers defeated Western Hills 5-0 Wednesday at WHHS, leaving both teams with 3-3 records.
“We lost five of seven starters,” FCHS coach Melinda Lewis said, “but this team has been really surprising. We have so many girls out who have some hidden talent.”
Franklin County has two seniors on this year’s team – Brooke Barber and Abbi Stamper.
“Brooke played tennis as a freshman,” Lewis said, “and she’s a standout soccer player. Abbi Stamper had never picked up a tennis racquet in her life, and now she’s playing varsity. It’s the same swing as golf.”
Stamper has signed to play golf at Murray State.
Barber and Stamper are both playing doubles, and their doubles teammates are juniors. Barber is teamed with Sydney Preston, and Stamper is paired with Deena Shewekah.
Sophomore Lili Williams, who played doubles last year, has moved to the No. 1 singles spot for FCHS. Eighth-grader Kelli Barker is playing No. 2 singles, and at the No. 3 spot is freshman Rachel Hampton.
The Lady Flyers have 25 girls out for the tennis team this spring.
“We’re 3-3, and we’ve played some hard teams,” Lewis said, “but this week we’ve had three matches, good weather, and we’ve come together as a team. We’ve gone out to eat, ridden the bus, just had that camaraderie.
“We have 10 girls who’ve never played tennis before, but they want to be on a team. I love tennis as a no-cut sport.
“We should be in good shape the next two or three years.”
Western Hills finds itself in much the same position, having graduated three seniors off last year’s team – regional singles champion Katie Howard and doubles team Audrey Lewis and Ines Lopez.
“We’re going to struggle a little bit losing the strong core we had last season,” WHHS coach Ashley Robinson said. “Katie, Audrey and Ines, it’s hard to replace them.”
The Lady Wolverines, who finished third in the region last spring, have 24 girls out for this year’s team.
Senior Anita Shanker has moved from No. 2 singles last year to No. 1 singles this season, a spot she shares with sophomore Jenny Carr, who played No. 2 singles Wednesday.
“They’re so even we flip-flop them,” Robinson said. “Anita’s a senior, she’s going to graduate, and she has seniority. When we flip-flop them it gives Jenny a little experience at No. 1, and for the next two years unless something unforeseen happens she’ll be in that spot.
“Both have worked hard,” she added. “They take lessons, they’re here every day at practice. They’re doing things to improve, and that’s evident.”
Angel Mitchell and Megan Farney played No. 2 doubles last season and are now playing No. 1.
“They’ve moved up,” Robinson said. “They’re a good doubles team. They’re very positive, even when they’re losing. They talk to each other and keep things positive.
“They’re working, practicing. They’re taking lessons individually and together. All the girls are working to improve.”
At No. 2 doubles for WHHS Wednesday were Elizabeth Wright and Diana Rudic.
Western Hills’ next match is Friday at Carroll County, and Franklin County doesn’t play again until Tuesday at Oldham County.
Below are the results from Wednesday’s match along with the results from two WHHS matches, both victories, played earlier this week.
FCHS 5, WHHS 0
Singles: Lili Williams (FC) def. Anita Shanker 6-3, 6-1; Kelli Barker (FC) def. Jenny Carr 6-3, 7-5; Rachel Hampton (FC) def. Megan Sharp 6-4, 6-1.
Doubles: Brooke Barber-Sydney Preston (FC) def. Megan Farney-Angel Mitchell 6-2, 6-2; Deena Shewekah-Abbi Stamper (FC) def. Elizabeth Wright-Diana Rudic 6-1, 6-2.
WHHS 3, Bullitt East 2
Singles: Janna Nidiffer (BE) def. Jenny Carr 7-6, (7-4); Megan Figg (BE) def. Anita Shanker 6-3, 6-1; Megan Sharp (WH) def. Amber Douthat 6-1, 6-0.
Doubles: Angel Mitchell-Megan Farney (WH) def. Hayley LaGrone-Amanda Riposo 6-1, 6-0; Elizabeth Wright-Diana Rudic (WH) def. Kylar Ware-Jess Hottois 6-0, 7-5.
WHHS 5, Shelby Co. 0
Singles: Anita Shanker (WH) def. Yen Ling Chen 7-6 (7-4), 6-4; Jenny Carr (WH) def. Rachel Dove 6-1, 6-0; Elizabeth Wright (WH) def. Melanie Roley 6-0, 6-0.
Doubles: Angel Mitchell-Megan Farney (WH) won by forfeit, Elizabeth Wood-Diana Rudic won by forfeit.