MARIETTA-After a near break-even season a year ago, Marietta High boys' tennis could be on the upswing this spring.
At least, that's what head coach Chris Mayer is hoping.
"We should be competitive in all of our matches, and will have a good chance to win most of them," Mayer said.
Mayer has a hand full of reasons to be optimistic, with five returning letterwinners, including All-East Central Ohio League (ECOL) honorable mention Clay Mason. The others are seniors' Ian Hazelton and Katie Miller, and sophomores' Jack Hirschfield and Jack Hu.
It should be noted that girls are allowed to compete in boys' tennis in the spring.
Miller, a swimmer and standout soccer player, also played on the Marietta girls' ECOL championship tennis team last fall.
MHS Boys Tennis Roster
Clay Mason*** (2013 ECOL honorable mention), Ian Hazelton***, Katie Miller*
Yoon Chang, Madelynn Gibson
Jack Hirschfield*, Jack Hu*, Maureen Robinson
Jackson Kelly, Mason Cline, Tyler Wise (9)
* indicates number of previous tennis varsity letters
The MHS tennis roster also features juniors' Yoon Chang and Madelynn Gibson; sophomore Maureen Robinson; and freshmen Jackson Kelly, Mason Cline and Tyler Wise.
The Tigers are scheduled to open up their season on the road at Logan at 4:30 p.m. April 1. Their first home match at the Glendale Courts is slated against Dover in an ECOL tilt at 4:30 p.m. April 4.
"Most of the teams that we played had a lot of seniors last year," the Marietta boss said, "so there will be a lot of new faces around the league."
Last season in the ECOL, with 2013 first-team Will O'Connor playing No. 1 singles, MHS finished fifth overall with a 4-8 mark. O'Connor has since graduated.
Cambridge won the 2013 league title with a 12-0 record; Coshocton (10-2) was runner-up; New Philadelphia (8-4), third; Zanesville (5-7), fourth; Dover (3-9), sixth; and Claymont (0-12), dead last.
"Coshocton will be the team to beat in the ECOL as they return nearly their entire varsity team from last season," said Mayer, who was the ECOL girls' tennis Coach of the Year last fall. "Our goals include improving upon last year's (overall) record (8-10) and league finish."
Mike Miller is expected to be one of Mayer's assistants.