Head coach: Mark Fain (fourth season). Assistant coach: Steve Blessing.
Last year: Chariho finished 8-5 overall, losing in the quarterfinals of the Division II tournament.
Returning to varsity:
Seniors: Ally Buckley (singles, captain), Mae Felkner (singles, captain), Molly Newman (doubles, captain), Juniors: Kiley Cook (doubles), Megan Dickerman (singles, captain), Jilian Geer (doubles). Sophomore: Grace Levi (singles).
New to varsity: Senior: Meghan Reilly (doubles).
Outlook: Chariho will have to rely on its depth if it hopes to match last year’s playoff appearance.
Coach Fain said that may be one of the team’s strengths.
“I feel like we are a lot deeper this year. Our doubles teams should be very strong,” Fain said. ”
Buckley moves to the top spot in singles after compiling a 7-4 record at No. 3 last season.
“Her game has improved, but every match will be a tough one when you play No. 1,” Fain said. “Most of those players play year-round.”
Dickerman made “great strides” from last season and Fain expects a big season from her at No. 2 singles. Felkner, a doubles player last season, will be at No. 3 and Levi will hold down the No. 4 spot. The doubles teams are still a work in progress. Cook, Newman, Reilly and Geer will all play doubles, likely the first two teams. The third doubles team will be formed after a few more challenge matches, Fain said.
“The girls have been great in practice so far. The team’s attitude is really good,” Fain said. “Top to bottom we are in a lot of ways better than last year. I’m not sure our record will reflect that, but I think the kids are a lot more prepared for the season.”
Coach’s take: “I would hope to be as good as last year. Even though we lost three of our four singles players, my hopes and expectations are up there. Our first five matches are against teams that were every good last year. We should know after the first couple of weeks where we stand.”
— Keith Kimberlin