by Tom Utescher
Even with the recent graduation of players who filled the first singles and first double positions in 2010, hopes are high on the Germantown Friends School tennis team.
It’s a youthful group this season; the only two seniors are co-captains Haley Abbott and Emma Greenstreet.
Sophomore Olivia Fiechter, a junior national team squash player, was undefeated at second singles during the Tigers’ 2010 tennis campaign, and is likely to reprise that role this fall. In intra-squad matches thus far, the number one spot belongs to an accomplished freshman, Joanna Booth.
The undefeated leader of the GFS middle school squad a year ago, Booth has been ranked as high as 20th among the 14’s in the USTA Middle States Section. She often plays up in the 16’s age group in tournaments, and she actually entered and won the 18’s draw at an event in New Jersey over the summer. Another ninth-grade prospect is Emily Abbott, younger sister of the team captain.
The Tigers’ two seasoned 11th graders (both third-year varsity players) have been training hard over the summer. Ameena McKnight went through her paces at the Maximum Performance Training Camp at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Center, and Lauren Shinn was named Most Improved Player at a camp conducted at Lehigh University. Currently, McKnight is working through a knee injury, but it’s hoped that she’ll be able to rejoin the line-up.
Two of Fiechter’s sophomore classmates, Hannah Ceisler and Emma Clark, played together at second doubles throughout the 2010 season. A fourth 10th-grader, Eliza Daeschler, is the younger sister of Daisy Daeschler, a racquet sports stalwart for GFS who graduated in 2010.
The coaching staff is familiar to all the athletes, with Jessica L. Smith returning as head coach and Kim McMenamin and Harry Baker back as assistants. A new addition is assistant coach Julie Raezer, who played high school tennis for PIAA power Lower Merion High School.
Two other Main Line schools, Friends Central and Shipley, are the defending champion and runner-up in the Friends Schools League. Germantown finished fourth in the FSL in 2010, right behind number three Moorestown Friends, and the Tigers believe that they have the personnel to improve their standing in the league this fall.