GLADSTONE - It's that time of year again.
Summer is coming to an end, and with it, school is set to begin. Along with it, the Gladstone Braves girl's tennis team is set to return to the court, making their season debut today in Marquette at 9 a.m.
Braves coach Rich Trombly says they may have lost a few players to graduation, but they also have a good core coming back, and he felt good about things after finishing up the team's challenge matches Wednesday night.
"So far, so good," Trombly said. "The four singles players are all pretty close, so I like our depth there. Our doubles might get juggled a little bit, but I would imagine the majority of the schools will do a little bit of juggling as the year goes on."
As of right now, Gabby Movalson moves up from playing No. 2 singles last year to the No. 1 spot. Lauren Parrett will take up No. 2 singles, while Bridget Becker moves to singles after an exceptional year at doubles last season. Paige Schwartz will round out the singles at No. 4.
"They should be competitive in all the matches they play," Trombly added. "I think we have a nice solid lineup at singles."
Aug. 22 - @Marquette; Aug. 26 - @Escanaba; Aug. 27 - Menominee; Aug. 28 - @Negaunee.
Sept. 4 - Gwinn; Sept. 9 - Kingsford; Sept. 10 - Escanaba; Sept. 12 - @Gwinn; Sept. 16 - Westwood; Sept. 17 - @Iron Mountain; Sept. 18 - @Munising Invite; Sept. 23 - @Ishpeming; Sept. 25 - GNC's @ Marquette; Sept. 30 - @Menominee.
Oct. 2 - U.P. Finals @Kingsford.
Melissa Casey, who played No. 2 doubles last year, will be alongside Kayla Wiltzius at No. 1 doubles. The rest of the doubles players will be making their varsity debut.
"We have quite a few juniors that have been around a while," he said. "What I've seen so far, I've liked. We'll have some inexperience there, so we'll be learning as we go. But their techniques aren't bad, and they're all good kids and they work hard.
"Usually, we play pretty good doubles. We'll find out."
Carly DeVet and Bailey Griebel will take the helm at No. 2 doubles, Paige Cavadeas and Hailey Bederd will be at No. 3, and Ashley Edwardsen and Ashley Lektzian will play No. 4.
Trombly said that he's sure the traditionally strong teams will manage to produce strong lineups again this year.
"Marquette and Escanaba will be very competitive," he said. "Iron Mountain and Kingsford should also have good teams, along with West Iron County. It's going to be very interesting.
"I think a lot of teams lost their players. A big group of seniors went out last year, and everybody's kind of in the same boat replacing the kids who graduated."
He added that if a team can beat Kingsford and Iron Mountain in the same year, usually it means they have a strong program.
"That's usually a pretty good barometer for each year," he said.