Senior Emily Harshman returns at No. 1 singles, as does junior Alexis Hungate to the No. 2 spot.
Juniors Gabby Matly and Kady Whitehead are in competition for the No. 3 singles position after rotating in on some varsity matches as sophomores.
Senior Madison Wells returns to the No. 1 doubles team, where she will be joined by junior Megan Floyd, who also rotated in at varsity at times a season ago.
Senior Erica Plutat also returns with varsity experience, and will man the No. 2 doubles spot with freshman Lauren Miller.
”The amount of varsity experience the girls have is huge, I think, when you talk about level of play,” Layden added. “A lot of them have played a lot of tennis in the offseason. Emily Harshman has put in a lot of time at the tennis facility and taking lessons, and it shows right now. I know we have tough competition in the area, but we’re just anxious to get started with matches so we can gauge our ability to our competition. Goal-wise, I think we would like to compete for top conference spots, and obviously the sectional.”
Northwestern opens its season Thursday at Eastern.
Wise was set to move his two strongest players, seniors Jessica Fox and Maria Owens, into the Nos. 1 and 2 singles spots after they played Nos. 2 and 3 a season ago, helping Taylor to a 5-7 record.
But Owens will miss the season after a knee injury, leaving the Titans a bit thinner than Wise had originally anticipated.
“I wish I had more experience,” Wise lamented. “I haven’t had many girls who have put in the extra time in the fall, but [Jessica] played a lot of tennis. I think people are going to be a little surprised at how much better she is this year. She can hit with the boys.