By Will Willems
Dover — The Western Boone girls tennis team may have lost some key players to graduation, but that doesn’t mean that the expectations are any lower for the Stars.
Head coach Colin Haney said he expects a lot from the team this spring, starting when they kick off their season today at Attica.
“We have high expectations,” Haney said. “We are coming off a year where we graduated a big part of our varsity line-up, but I feel really confident in the girls we have. It is full of girls that are driven and motivated and put in lot of work in the off-season. With the work they have put in, my expectations for the team are high from top to bottom.”
The Stars lost No. 1 singles player Alissa Jahn, as well as doubles players Emma Schaefer and Kylie Dobbs.
While it won’t be easy to replace those players, Haney said the Stars have some pieces in place that should help the Stars.
“Things have been going great,” Haney said. “Every single player has exceeded my expectations, particularly our former JV players. They have really stepped up their games and are really fighting for those varsity openings that we have.”
The Stars do return Meg Kinslow, who will be in the varsity line-up for her fourth-straight year. Maggie Klingensmith, will move up No. 2 singles to No. 1 singles. Also back will be Katie Collins, who is expected to move up from No. 3 singles to No. 2 singles.
Katelyn Coffman also returns after playing No. 2 doubles a season ago.
“Meg Kinslow has been a great leader,” Haney said. “She is a girl that from the moment I met her a couple years ago, I knew she had every quality to be a great leader. Now in her senior year, she has really matured and embraced that role early on and that has been fun to watch. Maggie Klingensmith and Katelyn Coffman are two other girls that are making sure practice is running smoothly and people are being held accountable.”
With three spots open from graduating players, Haney said there are several players that will be vying for the positions.
He said he expects Addy Zimpleman, Molly Kinsey, Talyn Guinn, Grace Kumler and Riley Ramsey to compete for the spots at No. 3 singles and at doubles.
When looking at the strengths of the team, Haney said the big thing for the Stars is the effort they put in.
“Overall, I think our overall work ethics and attitudes have been incredible,” Haney said. “I think if they can maintain that, keep that family-like atmosphere and encourage each other, than the skies the limit.”
Western Boone won a share of the Sagamore Conference title in 2008, but haven’t won a title since.
Haney said that in order to do it this year, the Stars will have to be ready for all the teams.
“I think North Montgomery is the team to beat,” Haney said. “That’s no disrespect to anyone else, but they are returning almost their entire line-up and they are pretty good. But we are sleeping on anybody, because overall the past few years, the conference has been getting better and better.”
Spring weather effects all teams in Indiana.
Because of that, the Stars haven’t been as outside as much as they would have liked, and because of when spring break fell, will have nearly a month of practice before their opening match.
Haney said the team knows there isn’t anything they can do about that, and they just have to make the most of their time as they prepare for the season.
“It can be tough, especially when you pair that with the weather and we have to be in the gym quite a bit,” Haney said. “But we can’t control our circumstances, we can only control what we do with our time together. Whether we are on the courts or in the gym, they have given 100 percent every minute. That is all we can do.”