SCRANTON — The Scranton Prep girls tennis team is ready to compete with four starters and two other players with experience from last year’s group.
Last year the team finished with a 15-0 record in Lackawanna League play and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class 2A team tournament.
The squad also claimed the District 2 Class 2A championship and with an experienced core back, the Classics are aiming for a sixth consecutive title.
Junior Gaba Horchos, a Clarks Summit resident, and senior Amelia Desiderio return as doubles starters while junior Gabriela Jakubek and senior Tatiana Klacko are back as singles starters.
Jakubek was part of a doubles team that finished third in the state tournament last season.
Seniors Rachel Maculloch and Gabrielle Serratore, who both saw action last season, along with sophomores Stephanie Carolan and Julia Horchos, of Clarks Summit, and freshman Isabel Hou, of Clarks Summit, are battling for the other starting positions.
Serratore is excited to see the team build confidence and become stronger as a group throughout the season.
The Classics must replace three key members who graduated, including two singles players who will play tennis in college, Emily Jonsson at Georgetown University and Maansi Malhotra at LaSalle University.
Prep must also replace Mira Patel, who was a member of the No. 1 doubles team.
Head coach Kathleen McKenna, entering her 14th year with the team, believes the group’s camaraderie is critical to the team’s success.
“Team unity is very big,” she said. “I think we have some strong senior leaders who really care about the game, the team and the school. Some of the girls worked pretty hard over the summer and we have a lot of experience.”
Gaba Horchos is confident the team will be able to continue its success despite the loss of several talented athletes.
“We lost a lot of good players to graduation and I thought the team might be lacking, but everyone is working hard,” she said. “I think we’ll do really well and try to win states.”
McKenna expects North Pocono and Wallenpaupack to provide the toughest competition in Lackawanna League play.
Scranton Prep will travel to play Holy Cross at 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 29.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.