The Haldane High School girls’ tennis team had a strong 2019 season, going 12-4 and sending two teams to the conference tournament.
But the Blue Devils lost five starters to graduation, including Natalie Sandick, Julie Geller, Anna Brief, Bridget Goldberg and Cassie Laifer.
Haldane does return a trio of talented sophomores — Amanda Johnson, Mairead O’Hara and Caroline Nelson — who Coach Simon Dudar is counting on to lead the team.
“Last year they all played doubles, but this year they’ll battle for a top-three singles spot,” he said. Johnson and O’Hara will be entering their fourth year on the varsity, while Nelson joined the team last year from Garrison.
Also returning from last year’s squad are juniors Maya Osborn, Emilia Osborn and Betsy McBride, and sophomores Fiona Shanahan and Isabella Crofts.
“Hopefully, they can fill in the back of the rotation this year, and they may be our new doubles starters,” the coach said.
The Blue Devils play in a league with North Salem, Briarcliff, Pleasantville, Pawling, Croton and Valhalla. Teams will be allowed to begin practice on Tuesday (Sept. 29), and Haldane is scheduled to open its season on Oct. 10 at Pawling.
“It will be a short and condensed season,” Dudar said. “We usually have 16 matches; now we’ll have 12. And because it will get dark earlier [because of daylight saving time], we will play eight-game pro sets [instead of the best of three]. There’s not as much time, so every point counts even more.
“Overall, this is a rebuilding year for us,” he added. “We hope to get the girls as much experience as possible with the hope of being competitive for the next few years.”