New Germantown Friends tennis coach Justin Gilmore is flanked by his team co-captains, sophomore Helen Ruger (left) and senior Eliza Cohen. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

New Germantown Friends tennis coach Justin Gilmore is flanked by his team co-captains, sophomore Helen Ruger (left) and senior Eliza Cohen. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

For Germantown Friends School, there are a number of new faces around on the varsity tennis circuit. Four players graduated from the Tigers’ 2014 Friends Schools League champion squad, including Joanna Booth, a former-top 20 Middle States player who first took over the number one spot for the Tigers when she was a freshman.

For the past four seasons, GFS and Shipley School have squared off in the FSL tournament finals, with Germantown winning three of those clashes. Booth will now wield a racquet for Amherst University, and her former coach at GFS, Kim McMenamin, has gone back to college to pursue a graduate degree.

Taking the reins of the program is Justin Gilmore, a 1996 graduate of Germantown Friends who was the JV head coach last fall. His assistant is a more recent GFS product, 2008 grad Ben Gemberling-Johnson.

Three of last year’s 11th-grade team members are pursuing different activities this fall, and the only seniors on the roster this season are singles player Sophie Bunson and doubles competitor Eliza Cohen. Cohen is co-captain of the squad this year along with sophomore Helen Ruger. Ruger played second singles behind Booth last year while still only a freshman. A top-15 player in the Middle States 14’s division, Ruger is a blossoming middle-distance runner in track, as well.

With Ruger up top and Bunson playing number two, it appears that 10th-grader Caroline Kavanagh will complete the singles line-up (the Friends Schools league employs a three-singles, two-doubles format). The other returning members of the Tigers’ 2014 varsity are sophomores Alice Daeschler and Lindsay Golden.

Daeschler is being tried out at second doubles along with Cohen, and early indications are that the first doubles duo will consist of senior Mavis UChen and freshman Malana Li. In the preseason, senior Jessica Lu has worked together with junior Marion Standafer in the third doubles tandem.

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