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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2016:08:15 18:50:06

STAFF PHOTOS/ JOHN LUND Senior Miranda Donovan, left, works at the net while junior Autumn Grey readies her backhand during practice.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2016:08:15 18:54:45

Junior Autumn Grey returns a shot during practice. STAFF PHOTO/ JOHN LUND

The Tunkhannock Area girls tennis team entered last season with the goal of matching its counterpart in the boys team, which accounted for eight wins the previous summer.

The Lady Tigers fell short by one win, but still put together one of the best seasons the program had seen in several years.

Now, though Tunkhannock will need to fill some holes left from graduation, head coach John Grey is set on continuing to move the program forward.

“All the girls have been working hard and striving to maintain what they’ve been doing,” Grey said. “The program has definitely gotten better and the girls’ skill levels have gotten better, and that’s helped their overall attitudes of wanting to be competitive grow as well.”

Tunkhannock enters the season without four of its seven starters from last season, but returns four varsity players, which includes seniors Miranda Doovan and Stephanie Seward and juniors Autumn Grey and Leah Rome.

“We’re going to have a little bit younger of a team this year, but we’ve been emphasizing the basic fundamentals to get some of the younger girls used to the speed of the game,” Grey said. “I’m planning to spread some of the experienced players among the rest of the team to help keep things positive in the early going. I think our singles play will be competitive with most schools. I haven’t really seen our full doubles teams work yet, but I think they’ll fair okay as well once they get their feet wet.”

While Tunkhannock spends the rest of the week preparing for its home opener against Crestwood on Monday, Grey will step things up at practice to better prepare the girls for the match.

“We’ll be running a lot of challenges this week and doing a lot of match play,” he said. “I want to make sure they’re watching their line calling and have better overall court awareness and strategies of the game.”

And while Grey hopes the Lady Tigers will remain competitive in Class AA of the Wyoming Valley Conference, he also wants to instill the sport in them for long after high school is over.

“I’m hoping to hone the skills and knowledge of the game of some of the younger players and get them interested in the sport of tennis,” Grey said. “I always tell them that this is a life sport. You can come out and play this at the age of 70 and don’t need a big group to do it with. From what I’ve been seeing, a lot of them have drive and have already gotten so much better. I think our depth is good and we could continue to have a really solid program in the next few years.”

Roster:

Seniors Abby Driscole, Miranda Donovan and Stephanie Seward; juniors Alex Arnold, Angelique Antenucci, Autumn Grey, Elaine Lance, Emma Rushworth, Erin Kelly, Hannah Chesner, Leah Rome, Melinda Singh, Olivia Heise and Rae Ann Carpenter; andf sophomores Kayla Gavek and Naeomie Strohl.

Schedule:

Aug. 29, Crestwood, 4 p.m.

Aug. 31, Wyoming Valley West, 4 p.m.

Sept. 2, at Coughlin, 4 p.m.

Sept. 6, Wyoming Area, 4 p.m.

Sept. 8, at Berwick, 4 p.m.

Sept. 10, at Towanda Area, 11 a.m.

Sept. 14, MMI Prep, 4 p.m.

Sept. 16, GAR, 4 p.m.

Sept. 19, Hazleton Area, 4 p.m.

Sept. 21, at Pittston Area, 4 p.m.

Sept. 23, at Hanover Area, 4 p.m.

Sept. 26, at Dallas, 4 p.m.

Sept. 28, at Holy Redeemer, 4 p.m.