Hollidaysburg's girls tennis team enjoyed the taste of chocolate last year.
This year, Hollidaysburg welcomes back one player who made the "sweet" trip to Hershey for state competition, although another key Lady Tiger underclassman from 2010 won't be part of the mix this time around, leaving Hollidaysburg coach Brian Denis with a bit of a sour aftertaste.
Hollidayburg returns junior Mariah Turiano - one half of the District 6 Class AAA double champions. Anisa Khalouf, though, has transferred from Hollidaysburg and won't be back to defend her District 6 Class AAA singles title.
Mirror file photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Mariah Turiano was a District 6 Class AAA doubles champion and Altoona Mirror first-team all-star as a sophomore in 2010 for Hollidaysburg.
Both earned Mirror all-star first team last year, and both went undefeated in regular season play.
The Lady Tigers will also bring back Susie Ellis, who earned Mirror second team honors.
"We are going to be very solid in doubles again,"?Denis said. "We also have a good group of freshman coming in, and our top group of singles players all play pretty competitively together.''
Altoona returns its No. 1, Ashli Livermore. Livermore was a Mirror all- star as a sophomore.
"Ashli Livermore is one of the best No. 1 players in the district," Altoona's coach Eric Hovan said. "She has worked extremely hard throughout the offseason and should be a very stabilizing force to the team."
Bedford's Katie Morris will lead the Lady Bisons who have multiple key returning starters from 2010.
"I've got high expectations for these girls this season," Lady Bisons' coach Nikki DiBuono said.
Central and Bishop Guilfoyle could provide a bit of surprise in the area. The Lady Marauders have a young team.
"We have strong, multi-sports players returning for this season," Lady Marauders coach Barb Fiore said. "Newer players are eager to develop their skills."
Central, however, will rely on senior leadership.
"All five singles players return from last year," Lady Dragons coach John Riley said. "It's a very athletic and hard working group. There is a lot of senior leadership on the team."
Coach: Eric Hovan
Returning starters: Ashli Livermore, Jr.; Sarah Seidel, Jr.; Emilee Hollingsworth, Soph.; Amanda Parrish, Soph.
Other returnees: Mariam Ahmad, Sr.; Leah Stoehr, Sr.; Taylor Wagner, Sr.; Victoria Denz, Jr.; Keelie Eberhart, Jr.; Jessica Harris, Jr.; Kim Letscher, Jr.; Katie Liberman, Jr.; Alex Nicklas, Jr.; Marina Dixon, Soph.; Alexis Palfey, Soph.; Alyssa Palfey, Soph.
Newcomers: Gabby Clapper, Sr.; Sabrina Filkosky, Sr.; Michelle Zimmerman, Sr.; Alex Misitano, Jr.; Tori Misitano, Jr.; Marissa Morgan, Jr.; Clair Seasoltz, Jr.; Britget Baker, Soph.; Alyssa Fasolo, Fresh.; Kayla Letscher, Fresh.; Lauren Lucas, Fresh.; Alexis Plowman, Fresh.; Laura Scott, Fresh.; Jessie Simmers, Fresh.; Kiersten Wills, Fresh.
Strengths: "We have a great amount of depth with this year's team. The difference from our No. 2 to our No. 10 player is very minimal. Ashli Livermore is one of the best No. 1 players in the district. She has worked extremely hard throughout the offseason and should be a very stabilizing force to the team."
Concerns: "Five of our top singles players did not play in the starting singles lineup last year and lack high school match experience. We have a long way to go to in finding doubles teams and players who are willing to be aggressive and move at the net."
Overall outlook: "I am very excited about this season. We have 39 kids on this year's team and all have been great to work with. There are a great deal of unknowns with players, but I really like how our top six or seven kids have battled through their challenge matches this week. We need to compete hard every day in matches and practice to get better. I feel we have a lot of room to grow and could compete for a district title if things come together.
Assistant coach: Doug Simmons
Coach: Nikki DiBuono
League: Laurel Highlands Conference
Overall record: 14-1
Conference record: 14-0
Returning starters: Amanda Hooker, Sr.; Katie Morris, Sr.; Aubrie Murphy, Sr.; Brooke Naglic, Sr.; Chelsea Territo, Sr.; Ericka Klavuhn, Jr.
Other returnees: Rachel Swartz, Soph.
Newcomers: Veronica Jeffries, Sr.; Heather Rininger, Jr.; Victoria Williams, Jr.; Megan Moorhead, Fresh.; Katie Tice, Fresh.; Megan Wertz, Fr.
Strengths: "Lots of returning starters."
Concerns: "Short pre-season, our first match is August 23."
Overall outlook: "I've got high expectations for the girls this season."
Assistant coaches: John Dowey
Coach: Barb Fiore
League: Laurel Highlands Conference
Returning starters: Allie Bearer, Sr.; Sarah Shanoudy, Sr.; Bridget Rea, Soph.
Other returnees: Barbara Saad, Sr.; Juliana Burke, Soph.
Newcomers: Evie Smith, Jr.; Maureen Rhoa, Jr.; Shannon Murphy, Jr.; Kathryn Nazaruk, Soph.; Jess Boslett, Soph.; Ashton Truby, Fr.; Aliza Sundberg, Fr.; Danielle Rudolf, Fr.; Jordan McCormick, Fr.;
Strengths: "We have strong, multi-sports players returning for this season. Newer players are eager to develop their skills."
Concerns: "With the overwhelming interest in tennis this year, we have many that are new to the game."
Overall outlook: "Promising outlook due to our long bench of young and seasoned players."
Assistant coaches: Tim Rea
Coach: John Riley
League: Mountain League
Overall record: 6-9
League record: 6-2
Returning starters: Heather Park, Sr.; Alexis Worrell, Sr.; Becky Stern, Jr.; Sarah Smith, Sr.; Hannah Stern, Sr.; Kayla Shriver, Sr.
Other returnees: Paige Mock, Sr.; Katelyn Baur, Sr.; Hillary Hamor, Sr.; Sarah Sault, Sr.; Karly Stinedurf, Sr.; Becca Butler, Sr.; Rachel Sutton, Soph.;
Newcomers: Sarabeth Bean, Sr.; Rachel Claar, Jr.; Krystle Pierce, Jr.; Ashley Hazlett, Fr.
Strengths: "All five singles players return from last year. It's a very athletic and hard working group. There is a lot of senior leadership on the team."
Concerns: "Brutal early part of schedule before league play begins. Also finding right double combinations is a bit of a concern."
Overall outlook: "With all singles players returning, hopefully we wil be in the mix for the league championship with perennial league power Central Mountain and also Huntingdon. We are also striving to qualify for the district team playoffs. We hope to stay competitive against larger schools on our schedule. This is a great group of girls to work with. We hope to improve throughout the year and be playing our best tennis by the time Districts begin.
Assistant coach: Pam Smith
Coach: Brian Denis (200-53)
Returning starters: Marissa Lanzel Soph., Mariah Turiano Jr., Susie Ellis, Jr., Alyssa Kustenbauder, Jr.; Mur Cardakli, Jr.
Other returnees: Denise Schultz, Soph.; Andrea Michaels, Sr.; Falon Morris, Soph.; Kianna Martinelli, Soph.; Emily King, Sr.; Alyssa Black, Sr.; Divya Gupta, Soph. Maze Lawruk, Soph. Naaila Ali, Soph.; Amber Ebersole, Soph.; Sarah Hershel, Jr.
Newcomers: Sierra Kobler, Fresh.; Alyssa Pheasant, Fresh.; Sarah Younes, Fresh.; Elyse Smilnak, Fresh.; Emily Brown, Fresh.; Kaylie Gallagher, Fresh.; Austin Lowey, Fresh.; Amerisa Miles, Fresh.; Casey Campbell, Soph.; Emily Brzana, Soph.
Strengths: "We are going to be very solid in doubles again. We also have a good group of freshman coming in, and our top group of singles players all play pretty competitively together."
Concerns: "We are looking for some of the younger girls to step and fill the leadership role held by the seniors that had graduated. We need to work out some doubles combinations for team Districts. We need to keep working hard and not be satisfied just because we won the last two district championships."
Overall outlook: "I expect to contend for a third straight District championship. In past years, we have lost some of the areas better players, and still have been very successful due to the quality of players we have. This year will present an even bigger challenge and hopefully we can rise again to the occasion."
Assistant coaches: Ed Bettwy, Amanda Denis
Coach: Mike Hample
League: Mountain League
Overall record: 1-12
League record: 1-5
Returning starters: Emily Tompkins, Sr.; Denea Gummor, Sr.; Keturah Weaver, Jr.; Maria Aquadro, Sr.; Amber Van Allman, Sr.; Kelly Moore, Sr.
Other returnees: Olivia Gailey, Soph.; Taylor Miller, Sr.; Emily Brokenshire, Sr.; Lindsey Bonsell, Sr.; Kayle Wilt, Sr.; Chelsea Ross, Soph.; Misti Hazlett, Soph.
Newcomers: Shannon Gearhart, Fr.; Davina Lee, Fr.; Anastasia Hollen, Fr.; Breanna Williams, Sr.
Strengths: "Eight returning girls with varsity experience."
Concerns: "Strength of opposition."
Overall outlook: "Should be competitive within the Mountain League, particularly if some of the younger girls continue to develop.