By Mike Stoller
Two weeks into practice, the Somerville girls’ tennis team is making good use of its time.
“We have a little bit of work still to do,” Highlanders’ Head Coach Mark Kirwin said. “So far the signs have been encouraging.”
The Highlanders finished with a respectable 6-10 record last year, and they hope to be even stronger this spring in the competitive Greater Boston League.
Somerville has returning veterans Zoe Iacovino and Tenzin Chokki slated to play at the top of the lineup in singles competition. Both were named captains for the upcoming season along with Jessica Mariano.
“They’re looking a lot more polished this year heading into the top two spots,” Kirwin said if Iacovino and Chokki. “They will both be moving up a rung to first and second singles, and with that comes challenges. But so far so good.”
Mariano, Leena Gaetner, and Vanna Lou, meanwhile, are all in the hunt for the third singles spot.
“We have our singles tournament starting Thursday to decide [how the lineup will form],” Kirwin said. “We’ll see what happens.”
The coach said the doubles circuit will have more newcomers as usual. Shan Shan Ou and Saddia Islam, Ravneet Kaur, and Chelsea Rodriguez all show great promise.
“They’ll all be working in and out as we work to find the right combinations and get as many players experience on the varsity level as we can,” Kirwin said. “We don’t play until next week so we have a little more time to get ready, and we will be using it.”
The Highlanders were scheduled to scrimmage with Medford this week, before opening the campaign against an opponent to be determined on April 11. Somerville will see Medford again for real on April 17.
Kirwin said many of the Greater Boston League teams had a number of seniors graduate last spring, so the field is wide open as to which team could make the biggest impact among the group. Cambridge returns as the defending league champion.
“It’s a new season, and we look forward to the challenge of it,” Kirwin said.