CLARKS SUMMIT — The Abington Heights girls tennis team lost several players to graduation this year, but coach Kelly Arp believes the new squad has the experience to succeed.
The team has just two returning starters from the squad that finished with a 14-1 league record last season and claimed the District 2 Class 3A championship.
“Even though we lost a lot of starters, we have a lot of girls with experience in tennis,” said Arp, who is in her second year as head coach. “They’ve been taking lessons and working hard. For having so many new girls, the skill level is high and we have plenty of depth. They also have a lot of energy and enthusiasm.
“I’m really excited because I know the girls strengths and weaknesses a lot better having watched them last year and I’m familiar with the competition.”
Junior Lauren Carroll, who started as the team’s No. 3 singles player last season, returns along with senior Catherine Pusateri, who is expected to switch from doubles to singles play. Freshman Clare DellaValle is expected to be the third singles starter.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how we all develop as a team,” Pusateri said. “We all range in ability, but I think we play really well together.”
Junior Savannah Blaum, who saw some playing time last season, will likely be a doubles starter. She is expected to team with freshman Lauren Koczwara. The other starting doubles team is expected to be freshmen Brooke Dennison and Julia Poulson-Houser.
Freshmen Isabel Lam and Holly Ross along with senior Macy Marturano may also see playing time throughout the season.
“We have a ton on new girls on the team,” Marturano said. “I’m really excited to work with them all during practices.”
The team must replace five starters who graduated, including two who are continuing their careers in college.
Caroline Mattise, who started at No. 1 singles, will play for Monmouth University and Sondra Lionetti, who started at number two singles will play for The College of New Jersey.
Three of the team’s doubles starters, Carolyn Hickman, Ajna Prahalad and Rachael Muir, have also moved on.
Arp expects North Pocono, Scranton Prep and Wallenpaupack to provide the toughest competition within Lackawanna League play.
Abington Heights will travel to play Delaware Valley at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.