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Linsly Tennis Teams in Rebuilding Mode

Jackie McDermott out in front for girls’ squad

March 21, 2013
By TONY VIOLA , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING - After experiencing years of success behind Morgan McDermott, Coach Dave Riethmiller and the Linsly girls' tennis team will have to move on without its All-OVAC leader.

Even though Morgan is continuing her tennis career at Wittenburg, the name McDermott will remain with the Cadets as Jackie McDermott will try to fill her sister's shoes.

A season ago the siblings claimed the OVAC No. 1 doubles title as the duo led Linsly to its second straight OVAC small school championship.

Jackie has picked up back-to-back No. 2 singles OVAC titles and has never lost an OVAC singles match in her first two tournaments.

The younger McDermott also is a two-time All-Conference recipient and will step into her sister's No. 1 singles spot this year.

Also gone from last season's squad is Regan Stein (No. 3 singles, No. 2 doubles) Hannah Soloninka (No. 4 singles, No. 3 doubles) and Kelsey Fithen (No. 2 doubles).

''This is somewhat of a rebuilding year for us having lost four very strong girls to graduation, but we hope that some younger girls will step up so we can still be competitive in the OVAC A-AAAA division,'' Riethmiller said.

Besides McDermott playing the No. 1 spot, a lot of the other single and doubles positions look to be up for grabs.

Emmy Weaver played No. 3 doubles a year ago and boasted a record of 11-2 along with being an OVAC runner-up, but is coming off a shoulder injury. However, if healthy, the senior should be in both the singles and doubles lineup for the 2013 season.

New comer Amika Ekanern looks to play a big role on the team as Riethmiller believes the freshman will also appear in both the singles and doubles lineup.

Senior Jazmine Shah, last year's top alternate, looks to have the inside track for the No. 4 singles and No. 3 doubles position, but will have to compete against fellow seniors Rosalie Haizlett, Sarah Stonebreaker, Caylana Vance, Hannah Wagner and Jessica Zhan.

Also vying for court time will be sophomores Allie Deschamps, Clara Haizlett, Skylar Page and freshman Pooja Chaudhry, Megan McCluckey and Eve Scarpone.

This will mark Riethmiller's 25th season at the helm.


On the boys' side, a season after winning the small school OVAC title, Mike Church is facing a rebuilding year.

Last year's No. 4 seed, Weston Meed, will be making the jump to No. 1, while the rest of the singles seed have even less top-shelf experience.

''We lost most of our team,'' Church said. ''When we play big schools, it'll probably be tough. We just do not have enough experience at No. 1 or No. 2. We don't really have a choice though. This is certainly a rebuilding year.''

Meed did make it to the final round of the OVAC tournament last season with partner Jose Bird. Bird, a two-time OVAC champion, was lost this year due to graduation.

''(Meed will) do OK, it'll just be tough against the big schools,'' Church said. ''He can win some matches, but again, it's just a lack of experience.''

At No. 2 Singles will be Jonathan Gabriel. Last season the sophomore only played on a doubles team. In the No. 3 spot will be Nick Kinyanjui.

''It'll be close between Nick and John,'' Church said. ''There could be some adjustments made.''

Kinyanjui will join Meed at No. 1 doubles this year.

The No. 4 seed belongs to freshman Andrew Shin.

''He's not too bad,'' Church noted of Shin. ''He can really help our team and possibly move up in the line up. Our two, three and four spots are all really close. Weston is a clear No. 1 though.''

Gabriel and Shin will be the No. 2 doubles tandem.

''It'll be an interesting season,'' Church said. ''I'm not sure if any (school) is really strong. It'll be a down season for most. We can hold our own in small school, but I'm not sure about big school. Some schools have better team. It's harder to compete against large schools.''

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