SHORELINE — No one in the Western Conference South Division could stop the Shorewood tennis team last year.
The Thunderbirds went 16-0 en route to the Wesco South title. With a mix of key returnees and new talent this spring they could repeat the feat.
“We have a lot of depth,” coach Arnie Moreno said. “We’re pretty solid from No. 1 all the way down to the bottom of the ladder.”
Senior Samantha Lim, who went undefeated in conference matches at No. 2 singles last year, regains the No. 1 singles slot she relinquished to German exchange student Verena Sackl last year. Sackl qualified for state last spring but did not place.
“I think this year it’s actually one of the strongest teams I’ve been on,” Lim said. “Every player is solid.”
The left-handed Lim was forced to play one-handed at districts last year after she nearly sliced off a finger on her right hand while cutting an apple. Now back to normal she hopes to earn a trip to state. She qualified for state in doubles as a sophomore.
Senior Jordan Reni fills the No. 2 singles slot. Lim and Reni were paired in doubles last year at the Northwest District tournament and fell one match short of a state berth.
Junior Kari Fiske, who competed at state last year in doubles with graduate Kali Chamberlin, plays No. 3 singles.
Senior Dan Dan Ma, who went 15-1 as the No. 4 singles player last year, has been bumped by freshman Anna Chatilo, who now fills that spot. Ma is now playing doubles. The T-birds are so deep with singles players that four of their doubles players would be among the top four in singles at any other school in the conference, Moreno said.
Other key players expected to fill varsity doubles spots include junior Elle MacGeorge, senior Cassie Lee, junior Brie Flughum-Behen, sophomore Lisa Hammons and sophomore Stephanie Lim.
During the regular season last year, the T-birds dominated their opponents, winning 224 sets while only losing 18.
Through their March 24 match against Lynnwood, the T-birds had yet to lose a set in four matches this season.
“We’re playing really, really well,” Moreno said. “We’re so deep it’s tough for a team to move players around and match up with us.”
Who will play singles and doubles when the district tournament rolls around May 18-20 at Stanwood High School will likely change from the current lineup.
“It’s still up in the air but we’re excited about what could happen when we get there,” Moreno said.
The Shorewood program’s strength in recent years is a testament to year-round players who compete in community and private club programs, Moreno said. Every year an influx of talented young players comes in to replace the graduated seniors. Still the Wesco South, with teams from Jackson, Meadowdale and Edmonds-Woodway making a push for the top, is no cake walk.
“We’re going to have to work hard to duplicate what we did last year,” Moreno said.