Times Sports Editor
The tradition of girls' tennis at Northview High School might not be as strong as their Vigo County neighbors, Terre Haute North and South, but the Knights have sown the seeds.
The Knights have a total of 13 sectional championships and are currently the owners of a string of seven consecutive championships.
Northview is looking to add another title this year and have a solid returning nucleus in place to do so. Even more impressive is the rising number of girls in the program, which is somewhere north of 30 athletes this season.
"The competition level at practice has been extremely high with having so many girls," coach Emily Goff said. "We have a great group of freshmen who have been taking lessons and putting so much time into tennis. I look forward to seeing them progress through out the year."
On the downside, the Knights will have to replace four experienced seniors from last year's squad that defeated Greencastle 4-1 in the sectional championship game before falling to Roncalli in the regional.
Number one singles player, Jazmine Kellum, has graduated along with doubles players Olivia Kumpf and Andrea James. Mallory Heffner has also departed following graduation.
The Knights will have the benefit of being able to move up No. 2 singles player Allie Melega, who battled daily with Kellum for the top spot last season.
Goff feels that Melega is in position to make a smooth transition into the top singles spot for the Knights.
"Allie Melega is a great athlete and works extremely hard," Goff said. "She is a good leader and I know we will see great things from her this season."
Ali Rentschler also returns for Northview and played No. 3 singles last season.
Rentschler scored a 6-1, 6-3 victory in the sectional championship match to push Northview to a 2-0 team lead over the Tiger Cubs.
The Knights have another four-player senior class this season that Goff is counting on to lead the charge to another sectional title and perhaps a regional win.
"We have four great seniors, which I expect to see great things from this year," Goff said.
The doubles teams are where some questions lie, though Northview does return a pair of veterans in Hannah Pond and Bonnie Froderman.
"We have a few girls who could step up and play doubles for us this year," Goff said. "Bonnie Froderman and Hannah Pond are back from our last years varsity team and will be a huge asset to our team this year.
Goff was quick to note that there are several players all gunning for a varsity spot as well.
"We also have Lauren Reberger, Allison Stearley, and Kaci Khert who could possibly fill some of our open spots on varsity," Goff added. "We are still working on our line-up."
With a large team this season, Goff has been pleased to see the off-season work that her players have done.
"We are excited to see the numbers increasing each year," Goff said. "We have had a lot of girls show up to open courts in the summer and go to DePauw in the winter. The girls have worked really hard during conditioning and their hard work has shown during practice."
The Knights' season begins on April 13 with a trip to Plainfield.
2009 Northview varsity tennis schedule
|April 13||at Plainfield, 5 p.m.|
|April 15||vs. Linton, 5 p.m.|
|April 16||at T.H. South, 5 p.m.|
|April 20||vs. T.H. North, 5 p.m.|
|April 21||vs. Rockville, 5 p.m.|
|April 23||at S.Vermillion, 5 p.m.|
|April 28||at Owen Valley, 4:30 p.m.|
|April 30||vs. Edgewood, 4:30 p.m.|
|May 7||vs. West Vigo, 5 p.m.|
|May 11||at South Putnam, 4:30 p.m.|
|May 13||vs. Danville, 5 p.m.|
|May 14||at T.H. North, 4:30 p.m.|