Editor’s note: This is the first in a nine-part series previewing the Davis High fall sports.
This time last year, Davis High girls tennis coach Sally Hosley was faced with a team that had just experienced extensive turnover.
This year, inexperience definitely will not be a problem for the Blue Devils.
“Our team has quite a bit of experience this year,” Hosley said. “Since we lost only one senior, all of our players are ready to step in and contribute.”
That lone senior was Catherine Archer, one of the team’s co-captains last year. Every other player from last year returns, with senior Cat Paw U leading the way.
“I think (Cat) will have a great year,” Hosley said. “She has grown so much on and off the court.”
Paw U emerged as the team’s No. 1 singles player last year after shaking off a wrist injury. As the No. 1 player this year, her performance will be integral to team success, but she’ll have plenty of help.
Megan Ewens (the other co-captain from last year), Jenna Mould, Lauren Duan, Katherine Murdoch and Angela Donahue make up the rest of the singles lineup. All return from last year, giving the locals a great deal of continuity.
Duan will be the No. 2 player, and Hosley is seeing good things from her.
“Lauren is very strong this year. Her game has improved so much.”
With tryouts still going, the doubles teams have yet to be set. Hosley is currently looking at a mix-and-match of Angela Fleming and Elena Neale-Sacks, Maddie Yang and Amy Fang, Michelle Bacigalupi and Soomi Yoo as her teams, but that is subject to change.
With all of the experience now on the roster, the Blue Devils will be looking to build upon last year’s results. The locals won the Delta Valley Conference last year, and made it to the semifinals in the San-Joaquin Section finals.
In order to make it to Sections this year, however, Davis is going to have to go through its main rival, the Troubadours of St. Francis. Thanks to some conference reshuffling, St. Francis and Davis are now part of the Delta League, pitting the two squads more often than in past seasons.
“Usually we meet them in the Sections, but now, we will be competing with them for the league title,” Hosley said of the Troubadours. “I have a feeling that we will have very close league matchups with them.”
The Delta League is made up of Davis, Jesuit (boys sports only), St. Francis (girls sports only), Pleasant Grove, Sheldon, Elk Grove, Franklin, Grant and Monterey Trail. Davis now faces a tougher league. The new faces on the locals’ schedule will make winning league that much harder, but Hosley is confident in her team.
“I think we will be competitive this year,” she said. “We have a nice group of young women who are ready to play. … I’m lucky to have so many talented players.”
The Blue Devils begin play on Thursday at Oak Ridge, which had a strong season last year.