After losing five varsity players to graduation, it looks like 2006 will be a rebuilding year for the Greencastle girls' tennis team.
However, with the spring season right around the corner, the Tiger Cubs aren't wasting any time. Coach Trish Lowe and a crop of young players are hitting the courts, attempting to make the most of the season ahead.
"I'm very impressed with the younger kids' work ethic," Lowe said. "They've really worked at it."
The Tiger Cubs return only three players with varsity experience this season. Last year's No. 2 doubles team of senior Kara Phillips and junior Kayla Birt are the only regulars returning, while sophomore Kelsey Hennette returns to the court after seeing limited varsity experience last year.
"She did earn a varsity letter," Lowe said of Hennette. "She did play some varsity, but she was not in the regular varsity lineup."
Along with Hennette, Lowe will look for Phillips and Birt to provide some leadership to the young team this year.
"They are going to be very instrumental as leaders on the team," Lowe said.
Others looking to crack the varsity lineup this season include seniors Katie Wilson, Lorissa Miller and Kaitlyn Elkins, while juniors Rena Warren and Renee Wolford will also be competing this spring.
Rachel Jackson, Emma Kaiser, Jordan Karch, Carol LaFoe, Briana Martin, Samantha Provine and Ashley Watkins makeup the sophomore class, while Brittany Elliot Audrey Merrell, Bridget Tucker and Elizabeth Burton are freshmen on the squad.
"I've had two kids that have played all winter," Lowe said. "And I have probably four or five kids that have played some this winter. So they didn't just come out on Monday and dust their rackets off out of their closets."
Greencastle advanced to the sectional championship last season, before losing to Northview.
The Tiger Cubs start play April 11 at South Putnam.
Lowe knows the Eagles will be a good test for her team.
"I know that South Putnam has been in the DePauw Lilly Center all winter," she said. "And that's not just one or two girls -- a lot of them. So I look for them to be much improved.
"I think they think this might be the year for them," she said.