This year’s Greensburg girls tennis squad hopes to take the next step and return to championship play. The Lady Pirates advanced to the sectional final last spring, but fell to Southwestern (Hanover) 5-0.
Head coach Gary Bailey knows the defending-champion Rebels return five of seven players, and are favored to repeat. However, the Pirates have the composition to be the top challengers in the tournament.
“I have a very nice core back,” said Bailey. “It’ll be fun. I’m really looking forward to a good year. We’ve been blessed with a good program, and I don’t see that changing any this year.”
Graduating last year were Kaeli Fong, Ella Westhafer and Bindi Patel. Fong played second singles on varsity and was a regular point scorer for Greensburg.
Two seniors, fourth-year varsity player Claire Welage and Torrie Brogan, are the lone upperclassmen.
“This is my last year with a Welage,” said Bailey, recalling Claire’s sisters and past tennis players Laura and Sara. “They’ve made me look real good as a coach. I’m looking forward to working with Claire this season.”
Brogan joins the team for her first varsity experience.
“She just picked it up a couple weeks ago,” said Bailey of Brogan. “She is a lot of fun out there. She keeps practices lively. I like having her on the team.”
Bailey said Welage expressed an interest in going back to playing doubles. Welage played third singles last season, and doubles the previous two.
“Either way, she’ll be a good asset for the team,” he said.
According to Bailey, 11 girls are competing for four spots on varsity. Six juniors, along with five sophomores, are in the mix.
“Every one of them is fighting for a varsity spot,” said Bailey. “All of them have a very legitimate shot of playing varsity all year. The lineup is not set yet. There are five or six girls who are competing for the last couple spots, which brings out competitiveness.”