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2014 GIRLS TENNIS PREVIEW: Top teams and players

  • Mollie Fox, Bloomfield Hills
  • Isabella Spindler, Clarkston
  • Anna Short, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood
  • Lexi Baylis, Clarkston
  • Kerry Hu, Bloomfield Hills
  • Alexandria Najarian, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood
  • Labina Petrovska, Birmingham Seaholm
  • Madelyn Karoub, Birmingham Detroit Country Day
  • Lauren Dietz, Birmingham Marian
  • Claire Markley, Birmingham Seaholm
  • Ellie Miller, Birmingham Detroit Country Day
  • Haley Mullins, Birmingham Detroit Country Day
  • Paige Olsen, Clarkston
  • Arti Vaishnav, North Farmington
  • Lauren Frazier, Birmingham Seaholm
  • Jackie Meier, Birmingham Seaholm

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Oakland County's Top-10 teams

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1. CLARKSTON — The last time Clarkston had a singles lineup this good was back in 2011. And that season ended in a good way for the Wolves. This year’s top-four looks to be every bit as good, or better, than that unit. Senior Lexi Baylis (Michigan State) leads the way at No. 1 and is looking to win her third individual state singles title. She won back-to-back titles at No. 2 singles before finishing runner-up at last year’s Division 1 final at 1-singles. Sophomore Isabella Spindler is back at 2-singles, where she finished second at last year’s state finals. Senior sisters Dana Olsen and Paige Olsen will both play singles this year. Each have won a 3-singles state championship, Dana last year and Paige in 2012. No team will be able to match that 3-4 combo.

The key to the Wolves’ chances at dethroning defending champion Port Huron Northern and early favorite Grosse Pointe South will be the play of their doubles lineup. Sophomore Alex Whall – runner-up at the flight last year – will team with junior Katie Hubregsen at No. 1 doubles in 2014. Coach Becky Freeman hope the pair can give the doubles unit a spark. Juniors Mackenzie Sowers and Caitlin McCaghy, sophomores Amy Brozovich and Olivia Baylis, senior Becca Gorz, junior Riley Budzinski and senior Emily Ross, freshman Meghan Piana, freshman Isabella Bender and senior Dominique Spindler will be counted on to score for Clarkston when the state tournament rolls around.

2. BIRMINGHAM SEAHOLM — The Maples are rock solid in singles this season. Seniors Labina Petrovska and Lauren Frazier and juniors Claire Markley and Rachel Fenberg all return to their 1-4 positions from a year ago. Petrovska has signed with Western Michigan and finished 16-6 at the top spot in 2013. Frazier won a state title three years ago and was runner-up two seasons ago. Markley is a two-time state finalist – including last year at 3-singles. Fenberg was a quarterfinalist last season at No. 4.

The doubles will be key if Seaholm hopes to return to the top, where it finished Division 2 two seasons ago. Two-time state doubles champion and senior captain Jackie Meier returns to lead the doubles. She’ll be joined by junior Laine Boitos, who was a finalist at 2-doubles a year ago. Sophomores Sam Lareau and Caity Buechner are playing No. 2. Lareau won a 4-doubles state title a year ago. Freshmen Lisa Johnston and Sophie Dixon will play No. 3 doubles. Sophomores Emily McDermott and Meaghan Flynn are at No. 4.

3. BLOOMFIELD HILLS CRANBROOK-KINGSWOOD — Any team that returns the talent the Cranes do at 1-2 singles should be just fine. And co-head coaches Jeff Etterbeek and Steve Herdoiza know just that. Senior Alexandria Najarian – ranked No. 3 in the latest USTA national rankings – and sophomore Anna Short provide the best 1-2 punch in the state. Despite the loss of sophomore Allison Motea (to a scheduling conflict), the Cranes counter with sophomores Emily Harvey and Amanda Twu at 3-4 singles.

Junior Meg Phyle returns to lead the doubles lineup. She’s a two-time state finalist at 1-doubles, having won a title two seasons ago. Seniors Holly Meers and Lauren Lanzon, along with sophomore Emily Harvey, all return to bolster the top of the doubles lineup. Junior Jazz Teste, sophomore Sauma Du and freshmen Sloane Wysocki, Ava Harb and Mackenzie Beckett will also be relied upon to help the Cranes in their quest for a fourth straight state championship.

4. BLOOMFIELD HILLS — The Black Hawks might be one of the most intriguing stories of 2014. Everyone felt Bloomfield Hills might be the team to beat this spring. But to come out on top come June, the Black Hawks will have to jell together as a team. Seniors Mollie Fox and Kerry Hu form one of the best 1-2 punches in the state. Add fellow senior Erin Weingarten and junior Meryl Reams to the mix and Bloomfield Hills is as talented as they come in singles. Fox won the No. 1 singles title in Division 2 last year. Reams won at No. 4. Weingarten was a semifinalist at No. 3, while Hu was a finalist at 1-singles in 2012.

Freshmen Maddie Fox and Alexa Bernard hold down the No. 1 doubles position. That adds depth to the lineup. Seniors Brittany Silverman and Charlotte Garrison hold down the 2-doubles spot. Both were starters in Andover’s doubles lineup last year. Natalie Langnas and Rheanna Henney also return from last year’s Barons’ lineup. They will play 3-doubles. Junior Esther Li and sophomore Marie Baenen – both from Lahser’s doubles lineup a year ago – will play No. 4 doubles. Rounding out the Black Hawks’ league lineup are juniors Keely Baer and Rebecca Stavinski.

5. FARMINGTON HILLS MERCY — The Marlins snuck up on the field at the Division 1 state finals last year, finishing runner-up to Port Huron Northern. They won’t be able to do much sneaking in 2014.

Coach Joe Stafford’s team returns its top three singles players: Junior Winnie Karoub at 1-singles, sophomore Kathryn Dunleavy at No. 2 and sophomore Bridgette Conniff at No. 3. Sophomore Gillian Toler moves into the 4-singles position after playing No. 1 doubles last season. Stafford’s hoping to score some points with that unit.

Mercy will have to replace some bodies in doubles. Juniors Mackenzie Zierau and Clara Pilchak will occupy 1-doubles. Zierau won a state championship at 2-doubles. Senior Julie Flanagan and sophomore Sarah Hinrichs move up two spots and will play No. 2 doubles. Seniors Megan Nadalski and Kathy Lowrance and freshmen Emily McCann and Carly Demkowicz are new to the lineup at 3-4 doubles. Stafford said that although his team lost some starters from last year, he’s got an athletic group of players who he’s expecting big things from this year.

“We’re really athletic, really positive,” Stafford said. “If we can coach them up and get us all playing together, we may surprise a few people again this year.”

6. BIRMINGHAM MARIAN — Coach Lincoln Wirgau returns three singles players from last year’s Division 2 state championship squad. Senior Lauren Dietz leads the way at No. 1 singles, followed by sophomore Breann Lunghamer and senior Catherine Yaldoo. All three reached the state title match at their respective flights 2-3-4 singles. Lunghamer won it all at No. 3. Sophomore Sophie Balardo has looked good early this season and rounds out the top four.

Senior Tatyanna Dadabbo and junior Bianca Emde are playing No. 1 doubles for Wirgau. McKenna Landis, Mollie MacEachern, Mallory Hudson, Caroline Cibulas, Katherine Champion and Marta Colosimo have all looked good early this season, helping the team to a win over Country Day and a tie with Bloomfield Hills.

“We won the state title last year, but this team doesn’t talk about that,” Wirgau said. “We are looking ahead to a new season with many new faces in the lineup.”

7. WEST BLOOMFIELD — New head coach Josh Molino will welcome in sophomore Christina Jordan – a top-five ranked sophomore in Michigan – who spent last year playing in Georgia. Jordan will lead a strong group of singles players which includes freshman Melissa Strome, sophomore Katrin Gurvich and junior Nicole Dean. Juniors Sarah Cahn and Gillian Meyers form one of the better No. 1 doubles teams in the county. Cahn was runner-up at 3-singles at the OAA Red tournament last year, while Meyers played No. 1 doubles. Seniors Hannah Shink and Emily Korot are at No. 2, freshmen Pooja Natarajan and Sahana Shankar at No. 3, senior Olivia Chang and sophomore Kathie Wu at No. 4 and sophomores Camara Porter and Deepa Raghavan at No. 5 for the Lakers.

Chang, Shink and Korot are the team’s captains.

8. TROY — Nine starters return for the Colts this season. Not a bad number to start with when you play in the OAA Red division. Troy finished fifth in the division last season and a point away from a top-10 finish at the Division 1 state tournament. Senior Amanda Guo returns atop the lineup, where she’ll play No. 1 singles. Junior Abbey Rice returns to play No. 2 singles, while junior Tiffany Chen is back and will play up a spot at No. 3. Sophomore Layla Hak is new to the lineup and will occupy the No. 4 singles position.

Troy is always tough in doubles, and coach Brian Miska has five starters returning this spring. Senior Lillian Liang and sophomore Deepthi Devireddy will play 1-doubles. They won the OAA red title at 3-doubles last year. Junior Arushi Mahajan moves from 3-singles to No. 2 doubles, where she’ll be paired with sophomore Clare Keating. Junior Julianne Fava and sophomore Leena Penumalee are at three doubles, while senior Katie Forche and sophomore Erica Friesen are at No. 4. Juniors Anna Balas and Schwetha Ramchandram will play No. 5.

9. BIRMINGHAM DETROIT COUNTRY DAY — The Yellowjackets should be very strong in singles this season. Led by incoming freshman Sasha Hartje, Country Day boasts a lineup that includes sophomore Haley Mullins, senior Madelyn Karoub and junior Sarah Carroll. Those three combined to score 11 points in singles at last year’s Division 3 state finals.

The key to the team's long-term success will be the Yellowjackets’ doubles. Senior captain Ellie Miller is teamed up with freshman Sadina Fadel at No. 1 doubles. Jenna Dinka and Hannah Wink, Sharmila Prabhu and Lydia Wang, Sam Prince and Tara Tang and Tiffany Yoo and Selina Mohatney have rounded out the early-season lineup.

10. NORTH FARMINGTON — It’s always good to enter a season as a league champion. It’s tough, though when that league championship moves a team up a division. The Raiders will be competing in the extremely difficult OAA Red this season. Fortunately for coach Whitney Wasielewski, her North squad returns 10 starters from a year ago.

Sophomore Arti Vaishnav is back at No. 1 singles. Senior Rachel Gringlas returns to her No. 2 position, as does junior Myra Visser at No. 4. Junior Shannon Kenny moves up and into the No. 3 position. Senior Andi Kopitz and junior Maura Ehrlich will anchor the doubles lineup. They were 2-doubles league champions last year. Seniors Alyssa Cutcher and Kyra Cutcher – also league champions a year ago – will play 2-doubles this spring. Senior Dania Abdulhamid and junior Eva Pitts, also letterwinners last year, will play No. 3 doubles, followed by junior Salma Awad and sophomore Ashley Sauerbrey at No. 4.

OTHERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON (alphabetical order): Birmingham Groves, Bloomfield Hills Academy of the Sacred Heart, Holly, Novi, Troy Athens

Click here to read about Cranbrook's quest for a fourth-straight state title

Click here to see 2013's top teams and players

Top 10 singles players in Oakland County

1. Alexandria Najarian (Sr.), Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood

2. Lexi Baylis (Sr.), Clarkston

3. Mollie Fox (Sr.), Bloomfield Hills

4. Christina Jordan (Soph.), West Bloomfield

5. Labina Petrovska (Sr.), Birmingham Seaholm

6. Anna Short (So.), Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood

7. Halle Hyman (Jr.), Rochester Adams

8. Isabella Spindler (So.), Clarkston

9. Kerry Hu (Sr.), Bloomfield Hills

10. Winnie Karoub (Jr.), Farmington Hills Mercy

Top 5 doubles teams in Oakland County

1. Sara Cahn (Jr.)-Gillian Meyers (Jr.), West Bloomfield

2. Jackie Meier (Sr.)-Laine Boitos (Jr.), Birmingham Seaholm

3. Alex Whall (So.)-Katie Hubregsen (Jr.), Clarkston

4. Lillian Liang (Sr.)-Deepthi Devireddy (So.), Troy

5. Meg Phyle (Jr.)-Holly Meers (Sr.) or Lauren Lanzon (Sr.), Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood

Jason Schmitt covers girls tennis for The Oakland Press. Email him at, read his "In The Zone" blog here and follow our high school tennis coverage on Twitter @JasonESchmitt.

Last Updated: 4/17/2014 9:48:40 AM EST

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