WORTON — Much like their male counterparts, Kent County High School's girls tennis program has a nucleus of returning players who include last year's MVP.
Maryanne Shoge, who is back for a second year as the head coach at her alma mater, said she is "super excited" about the upcoming season which, weather permitting, will kick off Wednesday at home at 4 p.m. against St. Michaels.
"My girls from last year got even better and the new girls will be playing doubles soon," Shoge wrote in an email Monday.
Early spring can be brutal in Kent County, and especially so in the wide-open expanses at the high school in Worton. The Trojans were given a reprieve from the cold and wind and rain earlier this month by being able to practice at Washington College's indoor courts while the Shore netters were on their spring break trip.
"We practiced at WAC for a whole week, and it was really nice to use their facilities," Shoge said.
Senior Maritza Lopez, the 2022 team MVP, heads the list of returnees. Also back from the three-win campaign are seniors Isabella Hickman and Nataly Cifuentes-Niz and juniors Lizzy Bilbrough, Jackie Grafton and Addison Cross.
Bilbrough is projected to play at No. 1 singles and with Lopez at No. 1 doubles.
Lopez will slide in at the No. 2 singles slot.
Hickman and Grafton will partner at No. 2 doubles.
After that, the lineup is fluid, according to Shoge.
To start the season, the returnees will probably play singles and doubles.
Newcomers are sophomore Nina Fahrman, who played jayvee softball last spring, and sisters Abra and Kiki Hynson. Kiki, a senior, lettered last month in basketball and Abra, a junior, was a manager for the basketball team.
"As beginners, they are picking up the sport pretty fast," Shoge said in the email.
Shoge has plenty of help. The staff, which she shares with boys coach Tyray Johnson, also a KCHS graduate, includes paid assistant Kara Anderson and volunteers Michael Wang, Dave Quinn, KC Holland, Marti Steudle and Frank LaMotte.