WARWOOD - After losing four seniors to graduation a year ago, Linsly girls' tennis coach Dave Riethmiller felt he was heading into a rebuilding season for 2013.
However, with Jackie McDermott and freshman Amika Ekanem picked up the reins, the Cadets continued an impressive campaign Monday afternoon with quick, easy victory against undermanned Wheeling Central.
McDermott and Ekanem each continued their torrid play with singles victories at No. 1 and 2 and later combined for another triumph at No. 1 doubles as Linsly blanked the Maroon Knights by a 7-0 margin at the Garden Park Tennis Courts.
The victory moves Riethmiller's squad to 9-2 on the season while Coach Peggy Dailer watched her four-time regional champions continue to struggle with just a four-member team. Both teams are also getting ready for next week's OVAC Tournament.
"We lost four seniors and figured this to be a rebuilding season," Riethmiller smiled. "But Jackie and Amika have played so well. But we still have three seniors this year, so we are rebuilding for next year's rebuilding season.
"But what I am really hoping for is that some of the younger girls get an even bigger interest and get some lessons and become ready to fill spots in the future. We have good numbers, we just need to get lessons and experience with it. This is a great group of girls that has been fun to work with.
"Things don't get any easier for us, we host University on Saturday and there will be some good teams at the OVACs, and Oak Glen is a team I am a little worried about. They are a strong team, especially in the bottom four spots."
McDermott and Ekanem have each lost just once so far, both in singles and doubles play. Both lost to the respective No. 1 and 2s against Morgantown and then lost their No. 1 doubles match, also to the Mohigans.
Monday, McDermott controlled most of her singles match with Central's Joanna Capito, even though Capito hung tough and extended the match, it was an 8-1 victory. Ekanem, meanwhile, was busy gaining an 8-0 verdict against German exchange student Nadine Metzger.
At No. 3, it was Emmy Weaver with an 8-0 victory against Bianca Saporito while Jasmine Shah had a similar blanking of Marichrist Pangilinan at No. 4.
McDermott and Ekanem were 8-1 winners over Capito and Metzger at the top doubles with Weaver and Shah picking up an 8-0 victory at No. 2. Linsly won the No. 3 doubles match by default.
"It has been a rare tough season," Dailer admitted. "But there really just doesn't seem to be the same interest in tennis as there has in the past, and it has been with a lot of teams. Numbers are down period, throughout the entire country and we are no different.
"We are not used to this, but I am doing my best to try to get kids interested and involved. These girls are doing their best and hopefully we can build things back up for next season."