The Tigers open their season Tuesday against farmington.
By Jeremy Joffray ~ Southeast Missourian
The area high school tennis scene will have a familiar face when the season begins today.
Annette Slattery is back on the bench for the Central Tigers. After a four-year absence from coaching, Slattery returns to coach Central's girls.
Slattery, who has given tennis lessons during summers over the past few years, said she never really got too far away from coaching.
"I really did stay in contact with a lot of the girls," she said. "I just really missed coaching the girls as a team."
Slattery coached the Tigers for 20 years from 1979 to 1999 before stepping down. Her teams enjoyed plenty of success along the way, winning district titles every year from 1987 to 1999 and placing fourth in the state in 1995.
"That was probably the highlight for me, and those girls probably," Slattery said of the 1995 season.
This year's squad should compete for the district crown after finishing second last year and qualifying for the state sectionals. The Tigers lost to St. Joseph's Academy, the state runner-up in Class 2.
Central's top six will include seniors Brett Ford and Liz LaFoe, juniors Dani Gross and Monica Toole, and freshmen Sarah Ford and Lindsey Pingel.
"We've got a pretty good mixture. They're all good friends," Slattery said. "We have a pretty homogenous group."
To get a jump on the season, Central's girl's sports programs started an open gym program over the summer with weight training and plyometrics. The tennis team typically had between 12 and 15 players present from a roster of 17.
"I felt like physically that puts us a step ahead than we'd usually be," Slattery said.
The Tigers will get a chance to put their hard work to the test on Tuesday with the season opener at home against Farmington.
"I'm looking forward to everyone getting a chance to compete and see what's out there," Slattery said.
After its opener, Central will have a week off before facing Jackson on Sept. 1. After that, the Tigers will get one of their biggest challenges of the season at the prestigious Great 8 Tournament in Columbia, Mo.
"It's been a while since our team's been in that," Slattery said. "I'm looking forward to that competition again."
Jackson looks to rebound
Jackson coach Linda Adams will try to help her team bounce back from her worst season in nine years on the bench.
After years of winning seasons, Adams and the Indians dropped to 6-8 last year. Part of Jackson's woe stemmed from playing a relatively inexperienced bunch against a tougher schedule.
"In order to get better you have to play tougher competition," Adams said.
Jackson will be hurting for varsity experience once again this year, though. Among the Indians returning players are juniors Jessica Drum and Shannon Cobb.
The Indians will start the season with a home match against Poplar Bluff on Tuesday.
Adams said she looks forward to meeting up with Slattery once again, although she only owns one win against her.
"I'm glad to see her back," Adams said.
Head coach: Annette Slattery
Last season: 10-6, second in the district, lost to St. Joseph's Academy in the Class 2 sectionals
Returning starters: Brett Ford, sr.; Liz LaFoe, sr.; Dani Gross, jr.; Monica Toole, jr.
Other top returning players: Jill Blattner, jr.; Maggie Limbaugh, jr.; Paige Foley, jr.; Kristen Ford, so.; Carsen Bahn, so.; Karie Moll, so.; Emily Hiett, so.; Brittney Hiett, jr.
Top newcomers: Sarah Ford, fr.; Lindsey Pingel, fr.; Claire Segar, so.; Kaitlyn Spalding, fr.; Lauren Tobin, so.
Head coach: Amanda Horrell
Returning starters: Shelby Rice, jr.; Tara Propst, so.; Stefanie Whitaker, so.; Brittany Koch, so.
Top newcomers: Amber Burton, so.; Amber Rhoda, fr.
Head coach: Linda Adams
Last season: 6-8, fifth at districts
Returning starters: Shannon Cobb, jr.; Jessica Drum, jr.
Other top returning players: Maddy Bruegging, sr.; Blythe Scmitt, jr.; Kami Miinch, jr.; Chase Crowell, jr.; Casey Schneider, sr. Alynda Lane, so.
Top newcomers: Katie Davis, jr.; Sarah Detring, so.; Amber Terry, so.; Ellyn Beil, fr.; Maddie Rupke, fr.; Charly Fausett, fr.; Andrea Penzel, fr.; Ashley Sneathen, fr.; Emily Hoffman, fr.