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The Elizabethtown Lady Panthers doubled up the rest of the teams in last year’s 5th Region Tennis Tournament.
With four strong doubles players this season, the Lady Panthers could be primed to do it again.
The Snow sisters, senior Mary-Chapin and sophomore Mackenzie, are back to defend their region titles. Elizabethtown’s No. 2 doubles team is the senior tandem of Lauren Riney and Lexy Hazle. Riney was the region runner-up last year with former partner Sydney Davis, while Hazle is back on the court after a hiatus in which she ran track and focused on spring club soccer. Hazle is looking to pull off a rare feat – earning a seed for the state tournament with her third partner.
The Lady Panthers should fare well in singles, too. Junior Natalie Fiepke went 22-5 last season, finishing second to now-graduated sister AnnLauren in both the conference and region tournaments. Taking Fiepke’s spot at No. 2 singles is sophomore Lauran Berger. Freshman Carly Pyles is at No. 3 singles.
Freshman Shelby Eriksen and seventh-grader Laura Hinkle will also play some matches in various roles.
CENTRAL HARDIN. If there’s an area team which can push Elizabethtown for the conference and region crowns, it’s the Lady Bruins – who return three key members of last year’s region squad which placed second to the Lady Panthers.
Junior Emily Novak returns at No. 1 singles after advancing to the region semis, while sophomore Riley Keys and junior Ashlee O’Brien both advanced to the region doubles quarterfinals, albeit with different partners. Keys has moved to No. 2 singles, while sophomore Alex Weakley is the third singles player and Julie Stivers has also played a singles match.
O’Brien and her new teammate, senior Sarah Rineker, won their first two matches at No. 1 doubles. Junior Ali Jordan and senior Taylor Mudd won 24-of-25 games in their first two matches at No. 2 doubles.
Other players who could see time are Kayla Ditto, Emaleigh Board, Taylor Harvard, Rebecca Mackey, Sierra Stark, Amber Zaehringer and Briann Williams.
JOHN HARDIN. The Lady Bulldogs return 4-of-6 players from last year’s region squad, including 3-of-4 doubles players. However, there has been some shifting.
Kristine Herrera played No. 2 singles in the first two matches of 2013 after playing doubles in 2012. Rachel Boswell, who lost in the first round of the singles tournament in last year’s region, is playing No. 3 singles. Alley Layson played No. 2 singles in the first two matches.
Kelly Conklin, who played doubles in last year’s region, played No. 1 doubles in the first two matches of 2013, once with Aliyah Bilal and once with Kayla Skees, who was on the Lady Bulldogs’ No. 2 doubles region entry last year.
Hailey Hoernke and Anastasia Newsome went 1-1 in their first two matches as No. 2 doubles teammates, while Morgan Parsons, Merisa Neng and Jasmin Peterson have all made doubles appearances.
NORTH HARDIN. Unlike many area teams, the Lady Trojans return singles depth. Senior Emily Hellinger won a match at region last year, while sophomore team captain Amanda Patterson – a 2012 All-Area honorable mention – nearly pulled off a first-round upset of a seeded player.
Addison Sutton, a fifth-grader, opened the season in the No. 3 singles spot.
Eighth-grader Hannah Lowman and seventh-grader Allie Sutton return at No. 1 doubles a year after making it to the second round of region, while eighth-grader Mary-Kate Dennis played No. 2 doubles last season and appeared at region. She could be paired this season with junior Larri Turner.
Other players who will see time include sixth-grader Kaylee Winge, freshman Breana Kenworthy and the sophomore quartet of Tay Best, Amelia Cottrell, Samantha Maphis and Katie McManaway-Daily.
FORTKNOX. Led by No. 1 singles player Maria Rogers, the Lady Eagles return three players with region experience. A sophomore, Rogers is also one of Fort Knox’s top swimmers.
Senior Nadine Stacey and junior Brianna Quichocho won their region opener last year as a doubles team, but Quichocho has switched to No. 2 singles. Stacey is back to teaming with sophomore Kaylaah Capindo, who she earned some regular-season wins with last year.
The No. 2 doubles team is up in the air, as is No. 3 singles or doubles. Players fighting for these spots include freshman Marie Ament, junior Marissa Battig, freshman Ha’ane Blas, sophomore Savannah Blas, freshman Brittany Copeland, freshman Breanna DeCriscio, freshman Erin Sanders and freshman Christine Wicker.
LARUECOUNTY. The Lady Hawks tied for sixth at region last year, but return just two players from that squad.
Madison Lee and Haylee Best were partners on the No. 2 doubles team last year, but Lee played the first three matches of the season in the No. 1 singles spot. Best, meanwhile, played No. 1 doubles with Kenzie Lewis against Bardstown and with Caitlin Lewis against Washington County and John Hardin.
Caitlin Lewis, Kenzie Lewis and Amanda Adyani each played one match at No. 2 singles in the Lady Hawks’ first three matches.
Gracyn Snodgrass played the first two matches at No. 2 doubles, teaming with Clarissa Baker in the first match and Cayleigh Allen in the second.
Ripley Lucas has been utilized at No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles.
MEADECOUNTY. The Lady Waves lost star singles player Jenna Mullen, who moved to Florida, but still return half their team from last year’s team which tied for third in last year’s region tournament.
Kayla Keith, who played No. 1 doubles last year and was a win away from going to State, stepped into Mullen’s No. 1 singles spot and opened the season with a win. Jenny Gerkins moved to No. 2 singles, while Katie Phelps debuted at No. 3 singles.
Annie DeVries and Brenna Wheatley, who played No. 2 doubles last year, have been moved to the top spot. The tandem of Cassidy Adams and Collyn Bradley opened the season in the No. 2 spot.
Other players who will see time include Kristen Bewley, Kayla Cook, Ashley Heibert and Whitney Hobbs.
Nathaniel Bryancan be reached at (270) 505-1758 or email@example.com