Dave currently serves as an assistant for Layden in the girls basketball program at Northwestern, but on April 23 when the Titans host the Purple Tigers in a tennis match with Mid-Indiana Conference implications, they’ll be opposing coaches for the first time since 1999, when Layden led the Eastern girls tennis program.
”My dad and I have always had a special bond through sports, just in general,” Layden said. “He coached me in a lot of things growing up. And now being able to coach with him during the basketball season and against him obviously in tennis, it’s a very friendly, competitive game. It’s just something special with our family, and something we’ll enjoy.”
The following are season outlooks for each Howard County girls tennis squad, in alphabetical order.
The Comets are eager to get the season under way with six varsity mainstays back for another year after going 13-6 and sharing the Mid-Indiana Conference crown for the first time in 2013.
Eastern reached the sectional championship round for the fifth straight season before falling to Kokomo in the finals last season.
“I think we’re at a pretty good place right now,” coach Pat Rice said. “We’re pretty deep and return quite a bit from last year, which obviously helps. We’re expecting a pretty good season, and I think that’s becoming the norm out here in Greentown, which is pretty exciting.”
Junior Courtney Clark returns for her third season at No. 1 singles, while senior Riley Kanable returns to the No. 2 singles spot for the third straight year.
Junior Sarah Sharp, a varsity newcomer, will begin the year in the No. 3 single spot. Classmate Megan Dean is expected to compete for time at No. 3 singles and possibly rotate in at doubles, as well.
Seniors sisters Claire and Marie Holkenbrink will make up the No. 1 doubles team. Claire played No. 3 singles the last two seasons, while Marie played No. 2 doubles the two years previous. This is their first chance to compete as a tandem.