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  September 4, 2008 Issue                                       

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Major turnout for Springside tennis
by TOM UTESCHER

Springside junior Rachel Byer lines up a backhand

With a small enrollment and a relatively large number of varsity sports offerings, Springside School often finds itself coping with personnel shortages on various teams. Not so with the tennis program, which had 41 girls turn out to the first practice, including 20 freshmen.

With a no-cut policy in place at Springside (they’re seldom needed), the Lions will find themselves with a “third team” in upper school tennis that has no natural rival at other league schools.

While this type of turnout would be helpful if Springside were starting a football program, it only takes a few really talented players to make a successful varsity squad, and in the Girls Inter-Ac League those types of athletes have tended to gravitate towards schools like Episcopal and Germantown Academies.

This year, though, Springside does have a tournament-toughened player in junior number one Rachel Byer. After attending Springside for a long stretch, Byer switched to North Penn High School last year, but has now returned to the Lions. Over the summer, she was ranked 24th in the 18’s division in the Middle States section of the USTA.

Springside head coach Huibri Botha and assistant Deb Schreffler are back for a third season as the Lions’ trainers. The 2008 roster includes four seniors who were all varsity players last fall: Gretchen Carlson, Jyll Hardy, Amanda Lownes, and Caroline Phillips.

Springside junior Erica Swan strikes a balletic pose. For more photos visit www.chlocalphotos.com. (Photos by Jimmy J. Pack Jr.)

Carlson, who is team co-captain along with Lownes, was out sick for the Lions’ scrimmage against Westtown School last Thursday morning. Both captains will probably be playing doubles this season; on Thursday, Lownes joined up at second doubles with sophomore Katie Miller, who was the only freshman on the varsity squad last fall.

Hardy played second singles in Thursday’s skirmish, and junior Marissa Rohner was deployed in the third spot. Juniors Abby Gendler and Erica Swan played first doubles, and the third doubles duo featured junior Caitlin Silk and freshman Bianca Reist.

The Girls Inter-Ac schedule has always been a tough go for Springside, but with Byer’s arrival at number one, moving other talented players down the ladder, the Lions should at least have more team depth this season.