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Top-notch tennis talent highlights 2015 all-county squad WITH PHOTO GALLERY

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A year ago, Oakland County saw a mass exodus of tennis talent not seen in many, many years. Graduation hit a number of teams hard, especially at the top of their lineups. And a few more of the best players around elected not to play high school tennis.

But the depth of talent is so rich that it didn’t make much of a difference come state tournament time. Three of the four state championships were won by Oakland County teams this spring. Birmingham Seaholm won its second straight and third state title in four years – in Division 2. Bloomfield Hills Academy of the Sacred Heart did the same in Division 4, winning its third title since 2012. And over in Division 3, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood captured its fifth straight state championship.

Last year’s all-county team featured a slew of seniors. This year’s squad is made up of a nice mixture of veteran and fresh talent – from top to bottom. Check out the best of the best for 2015:

SINGLES

Caroline Allen (Fr.), Bloomfield Hills

On an all-county team loaded with juniors and seniors, Allen proved to be the only worthy freshman to stand among them this spring. The Black Hawk newcomer finished 10-6 this season, finishing her season with a close, three-set loss to No. 2 seeded Raven Neely of Grosse Pointe South at the Division 1 state finals. She was named first-team all-state in Division 1 by the Coaches’ Association.

“Her record doesn’t necessarily reflect the season she had,” Bloomfield Hills coach Chris Dobson said. “I will say she handled the pressure amazingly. She came into the season wanting to play No. 1 singles and embraced the challenge every match. She will be a force in the years to come.”

Sasha Hartje (So.), Country Day

In two years playing No. 1 singles for Country Day, Hartje has lost just two matches at the Division 3 state tournament – both coming to two-time state champion Sara Daavettila of Williamston. Last year it was in the semifinals. This spring it came in the state championship match. Along the way Hartje won a regional championship and earned the 2-seed for the state finals. She finished 15-3 overall this season.

“Sasha is an amazing athlete and it shows through her tennis,” Yellowjackets head coach Jessica Stencel said. “She hustles for every ball and when she believes in herself she can beat anyone.”

Halle Hyman (Sr.), Rochester Adams

If it seems like Hyman has been around forever, well, it’s not a far-off statement. The four-year No. 1 player for the Highlanders finished her career 71-20 playing some of the best competition in the state. This season she was 15-4 overall, was a regional finalist and reached the quarterfinal round of the Division 1 state tournament. It was her first trip back to Midland since making it to states as a freshman back in 2012.

“It was an awesome four years with Halle on the team,” Adams coach Greg Burks said. “She was such a good player to have at 1-singles, but along with that she was such a great leader for the team.”

Allison Motea (Jr.), Cranbrook

Just two years removed from exploding onto the scene as a freshman and dominating en route to a No. 3 singles state championship, Motea had another brilliant campaign which saw her finish 24-3 playing No. 1 for the Cranes this spring. She was a state semifinalist in Division 3 and earned first-team all-state honors.

“Allison has a great competitive spirit. She worked hard in every practice and her intensity was contagious to all those around her,” Cranbrook head coach Jeff Etterbeek said. “We look forward to an even better senior year as she continues to work on her game.”

Haley Mullins (Jr.), Country Day

After a pair of state runner-up finishes her first two years in high school, Mullins broke through with a perfect season in this, her junior year, for the Yellowjackets. Playing No. 2 for DCD, Mullins finished 20-0, winning the Allegan Invitational, a regional and a Division 3 state championship along the way.

“Haley is a very talented tennis player as well as a great team player,” Stencel said. “She is a wonderful leader on the team and has an amazing attitude. Her quickness and consistency is really impressive and I look forward to seeing what she can do next year.”

Jeannie Nash (Jr.), Sacred Heart

It may have taken the junior a couple years to join the Gazelles, but Nash wasted no time introducing herself to the high school tennis world. She finished 19-1 this season, winning every match she had until the state championship match in Division 4 (to Traverse City St. Francis junior Amanda Bandrowski). Along the way, Nash won Catholic League and regional championships. She was also first-team all-state.

“We were excited to learn that Jeannie was returning to Sacred Heart,” Sacred Heart coach Judy Hehs said. “She was an asset to the team in many ways, and we believe that she benefitted from being a part of our team. We are looking forward to having her play out her high school career with us next spring.”

Isabella Spinder (Jr.), Clarkston

Spindler was flawless this year – if she was able to ignore her kryptonite, that being Utica Eisenhower’s Ava Thielman. The Clarkston junior was unbeaten in all matches not involving the Eagle sophomore. Overall she was 23-3. Spindler won the Holly Red, White and Blue Invite, the Ann Arbor Pioneer Invite as well as a Division 1 regional championship. She went on to reach the state semifinals at No. 1 singles and was named first-team all-state.

“Isabella was our rock all year,” Clarkston coach Becky Freeman said. “She has a great work ethic and determination. I look forward to seeing where she ends up playing in college.”

Alex Whall (Jr.), Clarkston

The 1-2 combination of Isabella Spindler and Alex Whall always gave the Wolves a great chance in any match or tournament they played in. The two helped Clarkston to yet another top-10 finish at the Division 1 state finals. Whall finished the season 22-4 overall. She won the Holly Red, White and Blue tournament, as well as the Ann Arbor Huron tourney. A regional champion and state quarterfinalist at 2-singles, Whall earned honorable mention all-state honors this season.

“Alex is a quite leader on and off the court,” Freeman said. “She has such a graceful, yet forceful game. I love watching her play. Her strokes are ones to strive for.”

DOUBLES

Bianca Emde (Sr.)-McKenna Landis (Jr.), Birmingham Marian

Near perfection. That’s the best way to describe the type of season Emde and Landis had in 2015. The pair finished 29-1 overall, falling only to a Birmingham Seaholm pair (Rachel Fenberg and Laine Boitos) which it came back to beat in the regional final and again in the championship match at the Division 2 state finals.

While on their way to claiming that state title, Emde and Landis won the Marian tournament, the Holly Invitational, the East Grand Rapids Invitational and Catholic League tournament. They earned all-Catholic honors and were first-team all-state.

“They had one goal throughout the season and that was to play their best each match and they knew if they did that, they would have a chance to win that match,” Marian head coach Lincoln Wirgau said. “They were the tone setters for the team, they came and compete each and every day and they were a joy to coach.”

Rachel Fenberg (Sr.)-Laine Boitos (Sr.), Birmingham Seaholm

They were the anchor of a dominant doubles lineup which led the Maples to their second-straight Division 2 state championship. The pair finished runner-up (to rival Marian) at both the regional and state tournaments. Fenberg and Boitos were 22-6 overall, picking up wins at two Seaholm Quads as well as the Holly Quad. They were runners-up at the Midland Dow Charger tournament. They earned all-state first-team status.

“While other schools are happy to see (these two) graduate, I am not,” Seaholm head coach Scott Ransome said. “They were spirited leaders. They led by example all season long. They played hard every point out there. They personified the designation of being our captains. It has been a real privilege to coach them.”

Meg Phyle (Sr.)-Sloane Wysocki (Soph.), Cranbrook

One half of this pairing has been the heart and soul of the Cranes’ doubles lineup for each of the past four years. The other could be the centerpiece for the next couple. Phyle won a pair of No. 1 doubles state championships, finished runner-up once and this year reached the Division 3 semifinals with her fourth partner in four seasons. She was a part of four state championship teams. Phyle and Wysocki finished 16-4 this season, finishing runner-up at the regional tournament.

“Meg and Sloan are both great competitors who hate to lose,” Etterbeek said. “Meg has exhibited great leadership over the past four years and our doubles line-up will miss her next year.”

Katie Hubregsen (Sr.)-Caitlin McCaghy (Jr.), Clarkston

Clarkston has long been known for its top-notch singles lineup. But the Wolves have had some of the best No. 1 doubles pairings year after year as well. Hubregsen and McCaghy continued that trend this past spring. The duo finished 21-7 overall. They won the Ann Arbor Invitational and were regional runners-up. They made first-team all-state.

“These two were giggling girlfriends until they hit the court,” Freeman said of her No. 1 pairing. “Things got serious quick as they wanted to win. Seeing their game faces was a good thing. Off the court these two are so much fun. Everyone wants to be around them, including me.”

Sara Cahn (Sr.)-Gillian Meyers (Sr.), West Bloomfield

This pair was the top-ranked doubles team in Oakland County entering the season, just a year removed from reaching the championship match at the Division 1 state finals. Cahn and Meyers won a regional title, but their team fell just short of reaching the state finals, ending their season with a remarkable 14-1 record. Among their biggest victories were wins over Seaholm, Clarkston and Grosse Pointe South. The two were co-captains of the Lakers and earned first-team all-state honors.

“Both of them are really intelligent young ladies and that really helped them out on the tennis court,” West Bloomfield head coach Josh Molino said. “They meshed really well … Gillian’s power game, Sara’s finesse. They went into last offseason and worked really hard. They led by example in practices and matches. They’ve left a good mark on this program.”

All-County tennis teams

FIRST TEAM

Singles

Caroline Allen (Fr.), Bloomfield Hills

Sasha Hartje (So.), Birmingham Detroit Country Day

Halle Hyman (Sr.), Rochester Adams

Allison Motea (Jr.), Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood

Haley Mullins (Jr.), Birmingham Detroit Country Day

Jeannie Nash (Jr.), Bloomfield Hills Academy of the Sacred Heart

Isabella Spindler (Jr.), Clarkston

Alex Whall (Jr.), Clarkston

Doubles

Bianca Emde (Sr.)-McKenna Landis (Jr.), Birmingham Marian

Rachel Fenberg (Sr.)-Laine Boitos (Sr.), Birmingham Seaholm

Katie Hubregsen (Sr.)-Caitlin McCaghy (Jr.), Clarkston

Meg Phyle (Sr.)-Sloane Wysocki (Soph.), Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood

Sara Cahn (Sr.)-Gillian Meyers (Sr.), West Bloomfield

SECOND TEAM

Singles

Sophie Dixon (So.), Birmingham Seaholm

Kathryn Dunleavy (Jr.), Farmington Hills Mercy

Maddie Fox (Jr.), Bloomfield Hills

Emily Harvey (Jr.), Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood

Breanne Lunghamer (Jr.), Birmingham Marian

Claire Markley (Sr.), Birmingham Seaholm

Melissa Strome (So.), West Bloomfield

Arti Vaishnav (Jr.), North Farmington

Doubles

Marie Baenen (Sr.)-Nicole Toussaint (Fr.), Bloomfield Hills

Abby Hildebrand (Jr.)-Selina Fuchs (Jr.), Bloomfield Hills Academy of the Sacred Heart

Dhivya Sridar (Sr.)-Youna Lee (Jr.), Novi

Hannah Preuss (Sr.)-Julie Boniface (Jr.), Pontiac Notre Dame Prep

Arushi Mahajan (Sr.)-Deepthi Devireddy (Jr), Troy

HONORABLE MENTION

Singles: Kate Cao, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood; Sarah Carroll, Birmingham Detroit Country Day; Caroline Cibulas, Birmingham Marian; Korrin Dering, Birmingham Marian; Sadina Fadel, Birmingham Detroit Country Day; Katrin Gurvich, West Bloomfield; Lisa Johnston, Birmingham Seaholm; Gretchen Lemon, Bloomfield Hills Academy of the Sacred Heart; Hannah Moreno, Birmingham Groves; Shannon Parr, Milford; Jazz Teste, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood; Teresa Walawender, Bloomfield Hills Academy of the Sacred Heart

Doubles: Katie Champion-Regan Patterson, Birmingham Marian; Caity Buechner-Meaghan Flynn, Birmingham Seaholm; Sam Lareau-Emily McDermott, Birmingham Seaholm; Sara Gerard-Kendall Gassman, Bloomfield Hills Academy of the Sacred Heart; Tate Lehmann-Kathryn Monahan, Bloomfield Hills Academy of the Sacred Heart; Stella Betrus-Sarah Panone, Bloomfield Hills Academy of the Sacred Heart; Amanda Simmons-Amanda Twu, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood; Amelia Smith-Alex Bowers, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood; Mackenzie Zierau-Bridgette Conniff, Farmington Hills Mercy; Sydney Renehan-Paige Reid, Holly; Maura Ehrlich-Eva Pitts, North Farmington; Leena Penumalee-Julianne Fava, Troy

Last Updated: 7/21/2015 11:32:13 PM EST


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