Owls girls looking strong Key boys could surprise CARROLL TENNIS PREVIEW

March 28, 1995|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Sun Staff Writer

The Westminster girls appear poised to reclaim their position atop the county tennis scene.

The boys picture is cloudy with co-champs Westminster and North Carroll both smarting from graduation losses. The Francis Scott Key boys could emerge.

North Carroll's Laurie Kreseski, the defending county champ, returns. She'll get another strong challenge from Westminster's Kristy Matthai, who has a year's worth of experience at singles after playing doubles previously. Last season, the two split during the regular season before Kreseski took a straight-sets win over Matthai in the county tournament.

Last year's top boys doubles team -- Westminster's David Shoffner and Steve Flora -- will try their luck at singles play. At South Carroll, senior Amber Clutter will look for a third straight county doubles title with a third partner.

Francis Scott Key Eagles

At Uniontown, a boys program that has struggled to find an identity, appears ready to turn the corner with six seniors back.

The Key girls find themselves in a different situation, with limited experience returning from its 1994 team that won a second straight Monocacy Valley Athletic League crown.

New boys coach Derrick Hess, a 1986 Key grad who played three years of varsity before playing at Frostburg State, said this is the pivotal year for the program.

"Ever since I was there, we've never had a winning record. You get used to losing and it's tough to change," Hess said.

A healthy Chris Crawmer, bothered by a broken wrist last season, will play at No. 1 singles and give Hess a consistent effort. Erik Koeppen is at No. 2 singles after playing at the top spot a year ago.

Foreign-exchange student Kai Vorhoelter will team with Pete Green at the top doubles spot.

"We really strengthened our lineup and with it, hopefully can turn some 3-2 losses we had last year into 3-2 wins," Hess said.

Donna Baker has an international flavor on the girls team with the additions of Judith Finstersbush and Viktoria Maradudina.

Finstersbush, from Germany, will play at No. 1 singles and Maradudina, from Russia, will team with Karen McKenzie at No. 2 doubles.

Seniors Robin Day and Maureen Ritcey return as the No. 1 doubles team, providing the most experience on a team that lost five seniors to graduation.

"I look for them to do very well," Baker said. "They've always communicated very well as a team and that's important in doubles."

Liberty Lions

Coach Bruce Damasio's Lions have experience returning on both teams. "It's just a matter of transferring that experience into performance," Damasio said.

Most of the experience on the girls side comes at doubles with the teams of Angie Buscemi and Sarah Oliver, and Danielle Gray and Missy Speck. Damasio hasn't designated the top doubles team yet.

Junior Dawn Schaeffer will start at singles with a handful of others vying for the other spot. Melissa Santiago has the early nod in claiming it. Sophomores Kristen Pulio and Jennifer Ramult will see action at doubles.

The boys managed only one win last season, but Damasio is hoping experience can produce more wins this year.

Returning at No. 1 singles is junior Jason McDermott, along with the top doubles team in Kanaan Thomas and David Blatchford -- the only seniors on the roster.

Sophomore Jeremy Shurak will see time at No. 2 singles.

"We really have a young team on both sides," Damasio said. "It's just a matter of how fast they grow and produce."

North Carroll Panthers

Mike Klingenberg replaces longtime coach John Lynam and has one county champ returning in Laurie Kreseski. Another, Craig Eckard, was lost to graduation.

Despite Kreseski's presence, the girls went without a win last season because there was little experience behind her.

The Panthers will heavily rely on Kreseski once again, but Klingenberg expects more help from an experienced group of seniors.

Jenn Richards will team with Kim Fisher at No. 1 doubles, and Melissa Glover joins Mary Ann Oldani to form the No. 2 tandem.

"We're counting on our seniors," Klingenberg said. "We need Laurie to lead by example and will count on that point each match as often as we can. She has great quickness, court awareness and the ability to move her opponent around."

Freshman Teresa Barnes is slotted at No. 2 singles. "She has her strokes down, it's just a matter of getting her match tough," Klingenberg said.

An immediate void for the boys is the graduation of two-time county champ Eckard, who led the Panthers to a share of the county and Central Maryland Conference crowns.

Sophomore Dave Nowicki takes over the No. 1 singles spot with juniors Brian Mayle and Derrick Easter teaming at No. 1 doubles. A lot of questions remain after that. Klingenberg said he has four teams battling for the other two doubles spots.

"We're building toward next year," Klingenberg said. "Having just one senior is a good thing; we're looking to get one more year's worth of experience to set us up for next year."

South Carroll Cavaliers

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