Gazette area Iowa high school girls’ tennis teams and players to watch for the 2019 season.
Cedar Rapids Xavier — Coach Matt Foxhoven’s team finished third last season in Class 1A, defeating Glenwood 5-4 in the third-place match. The Saints graduated top singles player Nina Marquardt from that group, but four players return, headed up by senior Emily Jasper, who teamed with Marquardt to finish fourth at state in doubles. Other returners include senior Maddie Abu-Nameh and Sarah Abu-Nameh along with sophomore Miyako Coffey. “(All our players) made an effort to improve their games on their own this offseason,” Foxhoven said. “Emily Jasper and Miyako Coffey will be playing doubles and I believe they have a real shot at competing for a spot in the top three at state. Emily has experience getting 4th place last year, and Miyako has made a huge jump in the offseason.”
Decorah — Veteran Coach Larry Berland begins his 43rd year coaching the Vikings with a veteran lineup, headed up by seniors Mara Frieden and Alli Groux. Decorah, which lost state doubles qualifiers Carina Yee and Vita Domnenko, and Waverly-Shell Rock are expected to once again battle it out for the Northeast Iowa Conference title. “We have a solid group of returning, experienced players returning from last year’s regional finalist team,” Bergland said. “They have experienced tough competition and should be ready to focus on playing well.”
Iowa City West — The defending Class 2A state champions would have been a prohibitive favorite to repeat if Emma Koch had been able to return for her senior season. Even without the three-time state doubles champion, still recovering from an ACL tear in her left knee suffered last September, the Women of Troy are a strong team and should be in the hunt to defend their title. Sophomore Audrey Koch, junior Jessica Moonjely, senior Vivian Mitchell and sophomore Caroline Chandler were all undefeated in singles during the regular season. Moonjely finished eighth at state in singles. Freshman Caroline Mascardo is also expected to contribute for West. “Unfortunately, we will be missing Emma this season due to her ACL injury,” said West Coach Amie Villarini. “We should still remain a strong team and a state contender.”
Miyako Coffey, soph, Cedar Rapids Xavier — Was a perfect 20-0 playing in the lower half of the Saints lineup as a freshman. Expected to move up and play No. 1 doubles with senior Emily Jasper this season.
Mara Frieden, sr., Decorah — Ended up 10-5 in singles and 13-5 in doubles for the Vikings as a junior playing in the middle of the lineup. Friden is expected to play No. 1 singles this year for Decorah.
Emily Jasper, sr., Cedar Rapids Xavier — Helped the Saints to an 18-3 record last year and combined with 2018 graduate Nina Marquardt to finish fourth in Class 1A doubles. Had a 15-6 singles record.
Audrey Koch, soph., Iowa City West — Combined with older sister Emma to capture the Class 2A state doubles championship. Was also undefeated in singles and helped West to the Class 2A state title.
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Jessica Moonjely, jr., Iowa City West — Ran through the regular season unbeaten playing in the middle of West’s lineup and won the regional championship. At state, ended up finishing eighth in singles against a strong field.