Dirigo girls' tennis preview
DIXFIELD -- In tennis, the amount of court time received can prove to be invaluable and that’s what the Dirigo girls' team is banking on for the upcoming season. It’s a new campaign, however, many of the same names dot the roster.
The Lady Cougars took their share of hits from the other Mountain Valley Conference last spring. It produced four wins, but the players realize that they have the skills to make a difference.
“We are still a young team,” said coach Art Chamberlin, who is in his 30th year. “We don’t have sure wins anywhere on the ladder so the pressure is on everyone to win their matches.
Thankfully, there are seven returning letter winners with junior Betsy Noyes, senior Meredith Brown, soph. Addy Fuller, soph. Cassidy Bigos, soph. Ryanne Dailey, junior Emily Ray and soph. Summer McCollough.
The only senior is Brown, who played third singles in 2010, while Noyes and Ray are juniors.
A strength is that all three singles are returning for their second year. There’s going to be an interesting three-way challenge for the No. 1 spot.
Noyes beat Addy Fuller and Brown early last year and had a strong season at No. 1 as a sophomore. Fuller (a sophomore) and Brown have both improved and have her spot in their radar screens.
Ryanne Dailey, Bigos and McCollough each played doubles.
“We will only have to replace one in the top seven,” said Chamberlin. “Three players have a year of doubles experience. Several of the girls were at Cougar tennis camp last summer.”
At camp, the points of emphasis; “the code” (sportsmanship, court etiquette) basic techniques and mental approach. These are being stressed during preseason.
The only losses were Amina Iqbolzoda in first doubles and third singles (foreign exchange student).
Returning from a year abroad is Kirsten Uhde (doubles in '09), Coral Howe (exhibition in 2010) and Neriah Bautista (returned to Dirigo from out of state, exhibition in 2009) are all juniors. Jackellen Bonney and Shaylynn Weishar are sophomores.
Freshmen include Nikole Breau, Grace Hebert (second generation), Courtney Heintz, Megan Brann and Caitlyn Gallant.
The MVC continues to improve. Boothbay is traditionally strong, Wilbur Shardlow is back coaching at Winthrop and he will have them back in it. Madison has gotten consistent coaching, and Mountain Valley will battle every point in every match.