Groundstroke

Junior tennis veteran and No. 1 singles star Sophia Pickering (pictured last season) returns to lead a talented HHS girls tennis team this season.

The Healdsburg High School girls tennis team may take a big step up in the North Bay League Redwood Division hierarchy this fall, if early season projections hold up.

Coaches Val Cronin and Scott Johnson are back to lead a team that is big in talent and numbers, a combination that should elevate the Greyhounds to the upper echelon of the NBL.      

“This season we had a whopping 37 girls show up on the first day of practice,” Cronin reported, adding that there are currently 32 on the roster. “Scott and I have worked hard on this tennis program and word is definitely getting around to come out and join and learn about the game.”

Leading the charge for the Hounds is junior three year veteran Sophia Pickering, who returns to assume the No. 1 singles spot. She’ll be joined by senior singles returnees Skyler Christie, Isabella Pacheco and Ella McMinn.

“Sophia conditioned and attended advanced tennis clinics all summer and it shows,” Cronin noted. “Isabella was undefeated last season and looks to match that again this season.”

Looking to hold down the No. 1 doubles spot is the tandem of Alondra Ruiz and Samantha Onate. The rest of the doubles slots have yet to be determined.   

“Our doubles team of Ruiz and Onate look to dominate and have a winning season,” Cronin said. “We’ve got a competitive team from singles all the way through doubles and hope to be in the hunt for the league title.”

The Greyhounds will visit Windsor on Sept. 17 before kicking off the league schedule on Sept. 26 at Piner. All matches start at 3:30 p.m. 

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