SPRINGFIELD — With nearly its entire roster back from last season, the Northwestern High School girls tennis team is seeking its third consecutive Central Buckeye Conference championship.
A year ago, the Warriors finished 16-2 overall and a 14-0 in conference play on their way to a CBC crown.
The Warriors return eight players from last year’s squad, including junior Leah Fraker, the Central Buckeye Conference Player of the Year who went 23-3 overall and 14-0 in the CBC at first singles. Northwestern also returns sophomore Taylor Errett (19-4 and 13-0 at second singles) and junior Macy Yeager (18-2 and 12-0 at third singles).
“They’re all three playing well,” said Warriors coach Kevin Fraker. “They’ve been battling it out in playoffs. We’re ready to start moving on from that and jell as a team to be the best team we can moving forward.”
Errett won the playoff to be the team’s first singles player this fall, while Yeager will move up to second singles. Leah Fraker will play either third singles or first doubles.
Seniors Anna Winkleman and Mara Songer and juniors Liz Arnold, Hannah Haley, Grace Estes and Delanie Miller will all vie for positions amongst the Warriors doubles teams, he said.
“It’s always a goal to win the CBC,” Kevin Fraker said. “I think any of the three singles players could be the No. 1 on most teams. We’re truly blessed to have the capability to put those singles players out there every match.”
A year ago, Leah Fraker advanced to the districts as a singles player, while the doubles team of Errett and Yeager also advanced to the districts. The Warriors will be using several different doubles lineups this year to prepare to make a deep run in the postseason, Fraker said.
“Our focus for the summer was trying to look at a numerous doubles strategy to improve in that area and maybe win some matches at the district tournament and give ourselves a chance to advance as far as possible,” Kevin Fraker said. “We’re going to try to rotate those strongest players into doubles as much as possible.”
With 22 players and three teams, the program is larger than it’s ever been. The Warriors will field varsity, junior varsity and freshman teams this season. The school started a middle school program a few years ago, Kevin Fraker said, which has increased their numbers.
“We’re very blessed as a team right now,” he said.
The Warriors opened the season with a 3-2 victory over Chaminade-Julienne on Wednesday, which included singles victories by Errett and Yeager and the doubles team of Fraker and Winkleman.
“We’re rolling right now and we’re trying to enjoy being a team, especially after last year,” Kevin Fraker said. “We’re glad to have a team together and competing and staying healthy.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Leah Fraker, Northwestern: The junior went 23-3 a year ago, advancing to the districts and earning CBC Player of the Year.
Taylor Errett, Northwestern: The sophomore went 19-4 at first second singles last fall, earning All-CBC first team honors.
Macy Yeager, Northwestern: The junior went 18-2 at third singles, earning All-CBC first team honors for the second straight year.
Olivia Walrath, Tecumseh: The junior went 13-3 at first singles last fall, earning All-CBC first team honors.
Ava Sullivan, Kenton Ridge: The senior went 7-5 at first singles a year ago en route to All-CBC second team honors.
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