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Tennis, golf and soccer teams set for spring


Area athletes prepare for start of 2010 spring sports season



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March 24, 2010
TRI-CITY AREA — It is hard to believe it but another spring sports season is just around the corner.

This week we will preview the upcoming girls' tennis, boys' golf and girls' soccer seasons, which should get underway just a few days from now.

Here is a glimpse at who those squads lost to graduation, their top returnees and a look at how their seasons should go:

Girls' Tennis

Almont Raiders

Coach and Assistants: Almont is coached by Mike Finton.

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Michelle Fox, of Almont, hits a volley during a BWAC girls’ tennis matchup last spring. photo by Kevin Kissane.

Top losses: Claire Turvill (third singles, league champ, four-year varsity starter), Courtney Braun (fourth singles, three-year varsity starter, league and regional champ), Christiana Simian (first doubles, four-year varsity starter), Kristin Brinker (second doubles, second place league and three-year varsity starter), Melissa Wilber (second doubles, second place league and two-year varsity starter) and Kelsea Offner (fourth doubles, league champ and regional runnerup, one-year starter) were Almont's top losses due to graduation.

Top returnees: Michelle Fox and Bobbi Enos along with Brooke Steber, Jaime Ligon and Jill Zygmontowicz are Almont's top returnees.

League Tournament showing: Almont won the Blue Water Area Conference Tournament title.

Regional finish: The Raiders netted a second-place finish at a Division 4 regional it hosted.

State Tournament showing: Almont turned in a sixth-place finish at the Division 4 state finals hosted by Jenison High School.

League favorites: Finton lists Almont along with Armada, Yale and Cros-Lex as the teams who should battle it out for the distinction of BWAC champions.

Season outlook: "Our singles duo of Michelle Fox and Bobbi Enos will be a strong 1-2 combination that will set the table for the rest of the team," Almont Coach Mike Finton said. "Hopefully, they will be able to help some of our less experienced players develop and strengthen our team," he noted.

"Both Fox and Enos have played much in the offseason, have great strokes and are some of the top players in the area. Brooke Streber, Jaime Ligon and Jill Zygmontowicz will need to bring experience to our practices and matches to help solidify our team. Hopefully, we will be able to contend for both the league and regional titles. In the league, Armada, Yale and Cros-Lex will be the teams to contend with making the BWAC an interesting and competitive race this year. At regionals, we will have to deal with the usual private school powerhouses such as Flint Powers and Sacred Heart as well as Armada. Another tough regional hopefully will lead to a trip to Kalamazoo for the state finals in May."

Imlay City Spartans

Coach and Assistants: Imlay City is coached by Kelly Malone. She takes over for Stephanie Cruciano, who stepped down from the post.

Top losses: Anitia Almendarez (first singles), Molly McNary and Lyndsay Schaller (first doubles) along with Becca Hibbler and Emily Druker (second doubles) were Imlay City's top losses due to graduation.

Top returnees: Anne Pawlaczyk (second singles), Ashley Dockham (third singles), Chaylyn Henderson (fourth singles) plus Janaye Powers and Kelsey Johnson are Imlay City's top returnees.

League Tournament showing: Imlay City took sixth at the Blue Water Area Conference Tournament

Regional finish: The Spartans tied for seventh at a Division 4 regional hosted by Almont High School.

League favorites: Malone lists Almont as the likely BWAC title favorite. She also believes Yale could be a factor in the league race.

Season outlook: "We have a good turnout for the team this spring," Malone said. "How well our newcomers blend in with our returning letterwinners will determine where we finish in the BWAC," she noted.

Golf

Capac Chiefs

Coach: Chris Huss is Capac's coach.

Top losses: Capac, which fielded a young squad a year ago, encountered no key losses due to graduation.

Top returnees: Colton Randall, Jordan Heiden, Josh Messner, Mike Vollen, Alex Montney, Josh Nemecek and Justin Heiden are Capac's top returnees.

BWAC Tournament: Capac registered a third place at the Blue Water Area Conference Tournament hosted by Fore Lakes Golf Course.

The Chiefs also pulled up fourth as far as the final league standings were concerned.

District results: Capac ranked sixth at a Division 3 district it hosted.

Regional results: The Chiefs notched a fifth at a Division 3 regional.

The Fortress Golf Course, in Frankenmuth, is where the action unfolded.

League favorites: Huss lists Richmond and Cros-Lex as the teams that should be at the top of the Blue Water Area Conference standings this spring.

He also believes his team has the potential to challenge for that position.

Season outlook: "We return our top-six golfers from last year's squad," Huss said. "The outlook for this season is good," he noted.

Almont Raiders

Coach: Mark Bone is Almont's coach.

Top losses: Lauren Bone, who now tees it up for the St. Francis Illinois women's golf team, was one of Almont's top players lost to graduation.

Jake McCarthy and Ryan Sly also watched their high school elgibility draw to a close.

Top returnees: Brett McDonald, Adam Bacheller and Brett Gors are Almont's top returnees.

BWAC Tournament: Almont took fifth at the Blue Water Area Conference Tournament hosted by Fore Lakes Golf Course.

The Raiders also pulled up fifth as far as the league standings were concerned.

District results: Almont ranked seventh at a Division 3 district.

Holly Meadows Golf Course is where the action unfolded.

League favorites: Bone lists Cros-Lex, Richmond and Capac as teams who should contend for the distinction of Blue Water Area Conference champions this spring.

Season outlook: "Once again we have numerous golfers right on the edge of breaking into the varsity lineup," Almont Coach Mark Bone said. I'm looking forward to another year of golf with a great group of guys," he noted.

Imlay City Spartans

Coach: Imlay City is coached by Joyce Harlukowicz. She takes over for Mike Parker, who stepped down from the position at the completion of last season.

Top losses: Cody Campbell and Darren Saunders were Imlay City's top losses due to graduation.

Top returnees: Drew Schultz and Brenan Hopkins are expected to be Imlay City's top returnees.

BWAC Tournament: Imlay City placed sixth at the Blue Water Area Conference Tournament hosted by Fore Lakes Golf Course.

The Spartans also wound up sixth as far as the final league standings were concerned.

District results: The Spartans ranked eighth at a Division 3 district.

Holly Meadows Golf Course is where the action unfolded.

League favorites: Harlukowicz says Cros-Lex is the team who is likely to do well in the conference title hunt.

Season outlook: "Our goal is to show steady improvement in our team scoring at each match," Imlay City Coach Joyce Harlukowicz said.

Dryden Cardinals

Coach: Mark Newell is Dryden's coach.

Top losses: Harley Hendrickson and Aaron Roszczewski were Dryden's top losses due to graduation.

Top returnees: Evan Dulac and Zack Taylor are Dryden's top returnees.

NCTL Tournament: Dryden notched a two-way tie for second place at the North Central Thumb League Tournament hosted by Hidden Harbor Golf Course in Caseville.

District results: The Cardinals took sixth at a Division 4 district.

Bird Creek Golf Course, in Port Austin, is where the action unfolded.

Regional results: Dryden wound up 11th at a Division 4 regional hosted by The Sawmill Golf Club.

League favorites: Newell pegs North Huron as the likely NCTL frontrunner.

Season outlook: We lost our top-two golfers due to graduation and have a relatively inexeperienced group returning," Newell said. "Our goal will be to show improvement as the season goes along," he noted.

Girls' Soccer

Almont Raiders

Coach and Assistants: Kurt Hennig is Almont's Coach.

Top losses: Heather Curtis (forward), Taylor Fiebelkorn (defense) and Lisa Marcath (defense) were Almont's top losses due to graduation.

Top returnees: Kaylin Deppe (midfield), Lexi Sheehan (midfield), Carly Lawrence (midfield, defense), Chelsea Dudek (midfield/forward), Hannah Robeson (defense), Anna Hoover (defense), Brittany Schmalzel (goalie) and Kayla Phillips (goalie) are Almont's top returnees.

League record: Almont notched an 8-2-2 BWAC record, good enough for second place.

Overall mark: The Raiders posted a 9-5-3 overall mark.

Postseason results: Almont bowed out with an 8-0 setback to host Richmond in a Division 3 district opening round encounter.

League favorites: Hennig projects Richmond as the likely BWAC frontrunner.

After that, Hennig said it is to close to call.

Season Outlook: "We lost three key players to graduation but still have some talent coming back," Almont Coach Kurt Hennig said. "I have high hopes for the team heading into the upcoming season," he noted.

Imlay City Spartans

Coach and Assistants: Rick Lee is Imlay City's coach.

Top losses: Taylor Lee (midfielder), Erin Booth (defensive stopper) and Catie Withun (goalie) were Imlay City's top losses due to graduation.

Top returnees: Sarah Hunt (forward), Marcella Alu (forward), Morgan Lee (forward), Morgan Lee (forward), Chelsea Parrott (midfield), Jamie Hoffner (midfield), Emily Job (defense), Leticia Alcazar (defense), Angela Guerrero (defense) and Alivia Hibbler (goalie) are Imlay City's top returnees.

Imlay City also welcomes back Kali Van Dyk, Jaclyn Van Dyk, Erica Zuhlke, Carley Kaikkonen and Chelsea Moore.

League record: Imlay City notched a fifth-place finish versus BWAC foes.

Overall mark: The Spartans put together a 9-11-3 overall

Postseason results: Imlay City excelled during the postseason, registering a second-place finish in their Division 3 district.

The Spartans started district action with a 2-1 quarterfinal win against visiting Armada.

Imlay City followed it up with a 3-1 road victory over Algonac.

The Spartans then closed out their tournament run with a 6-0 championship match setback to Richmond.

League favorites: Lee pegs Richmond as the probable BWAC title favorite. Almont, Imlay City and Armada should also contend.

Season Outlook: "The league has become very competitive in the last two years with Richmond being the team to beat," Imlay City Coach Rick Lee said. "Almont, Imlay City and Armada will be fighting to replace them at the top," he noted.

"We return a lot of experience, the key for success will be the depth of our bench. There are a lot of athletic girls who need to step up and improve on a daily basis. Our strength will be in the forward and midfield positions, which returns everyone but our center midfielder. The goalie position returns Alivia Hibbler, who made great strides last year in her increased role as the season progressed, along with Marlena Janda who has shown great work ethic early in the season. The program has shown great improvement every year and I as the coach expect it to keep moving in the right direction. The girls expect to compete in every game and realize through hard work and discipline they can be a part of a winning program.

Capac Chiefs

Coach and Assistants: Todd Stank is Capac's coach.

Top losses: Taylor Sinda (forward and center midfielder) and Gloria Polzin (forward) were Capac's top losses due to graduation.

Top returnees: Jessica Saez (defense), Sabrina Connell (defense), Ashley Callewaert (midfield) and Taylor Podschwit (midfield) are Capac's top returnees.

League record: Capac notched a 1-11 BWAC record, good enough for seventh place.

Overall mark: The Chiefs posted a 1-18 overall mark.

Postseason results: Capac bowed out with an 8-0 setback to visiting Algonac in a Division 3 district opening round encounter.

League favorites: Stank projects Richmond and Almont as the likely BWAC frontrunners.

Season Outlook: "We have added nine new players this year and will continue to build and grow our soccer program," Capac Coach Todd Stank said. "We hope that with hard work and positive mentoring our our new additions, we will have a fun and competive season," he noted.

Dryden Cardinals

Coach and Assistants: Jeff Sturza is Dryden's coach.

Top losses: Brittany Lewis (center midfield), Liz Sturza (forward), Lindsay Williamson (forward), Ashley Scalf (forward) and Megan Taylor (goalkeeper) were Dryden's top losses due to graduation.

Top returnees: Liz Smith (midfielder/defense), Kylie Kraydich (defense), Maddy Couch (forward) and Erica Town (center midfielder and defense) are Dryden's top returnees.

Overall mark: Dryden wound up with a 10-10-1 overall mark.

Postseason results: The Cardinals enjoyed a successful postseason run, claiming a second-place finish in their Division 4 district.

Dryden began district play with an 11-0 win against Merritt Academy.

The Cardinals followed it up with a 6-0 semifinal victory over Brown City.

Dryden then watched their tournament run draw to a close with a 9-0 setback to Marine City Cardinal Mooney.

All of those contests unfolded at Memphis High School.

Season outlook: "This year will prove to be challenging," Dryden Coach Jeff Sturza acknowledged. "We have several key losses but we have gained a lot of new talent," he emphasized.

"I am expecting a great season from us."

Kevin Kissane has been covering high school sports for the Tri-City Times since 1985. When not standing on a field or court with his camera and notepad, he enjoys golf, travel and family. Kevin is a 1980 graduate of Capac High School, and is also a grad of St. Clair Community College and earned a degree in journalism from Central Michigan University.
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