Head coach: Terrence McAndrew (fifth season). Assistant coach: Greg Ferraro.
Last year: Westerly put together a 3-10 record in Division I and did not qualify for the postseason.
Returning to varsity:
Seniors: Jessica Calabrese (captain), Julia Garro (captain), Merissa Letizio (captain). Juniors: Gabby Brennan, Grace Brinton, Mollie Clark, Lainey Corina, Gianna Ferraro (captain), Verena Ghattas, Emma Harold, Elena Murdock, Ilianna Parra, Lily Tria. Sophomores: Kaleigh Pasell, Maggie Stahl.
New to varsity: Junior: Helena Von Der Heide. Sophomore: Hannah Nicholson. Freshmen: Campbell Gladski, Sydney Imhof, Alliandra Trefes.
Outlook: Westerly returns nearly its entire lineup this season and the Bulldogs are seeking a playoff berth.
Ferraro will play No. 1 singles for the second straight season. She was second-team All-State last season.
“We have high expectations for Gianna this year. Our reach goal is for her to make the state semifinals. We expect her to make the quarterfinals,” McAndrew said. “Credit to her and her father [Greg] for really putting in the work over the course of the summer. She has improved her serve and footwork.”
Tria, Murdock and Passell will round out the singles lineup. Tria has improved her pace on the ball. She rarely makes an unforced error, McAndrew said. Tria was 4-9 last season and McAndrew said her win total could double this time around.
Murdock is the most athletic on the team and healthy this season after being slowed by illness last season — she played only two singles matches. Passell has the top form and technique on the team and plays with her “heart on her sleeve every single match,” McAndrew said.
Clark, Brinton, Gladski, Harold and Corina will all play somewhere on the doubles ladder. The remaining doubles spot has yet to be decided.
Coach’s take: “Our goal this year is to make the first round of the playoffs. That would probably see a six- or seven-win season out of us.”