A little depth could go a long way for the Arcadia girls tennis team. “This is the year we could have competed with (defending champ Tucson) Catalina Foothills,” said Arcadia coach Josh Olshan of his team’s chances this season at a 4A championship.
The Titans won’t have to face Foothills, however, as the split across the 4A and 5A conferences has put Arcadia into 4A Division II this season. That likely means the Titans have an even better chance of competing for a team state title.
Senior Kristen MacWilliam, a singles quarterfinalist last season, will likely forego a shot at advancing further in singles this season. MacWilliam said she plans to go after the 4A-II doubles title with close friend and teammate Ali Griffin.
“I think we both wanted to be together and play doubles,” MacWilliam said of Griffin, the 2004 5A doubles champion while playing for Xavier.
TOP PLAYERS TO WATCH
Ali Griffin: The 5A state doubles champion in 2004, the Arcadia senior had to sit out last season after transferring from Xavier.
Kristen MacWilliam: The Arcadia senior reached the round of eight last season.
The Notre Dame Prep senior is the 4A-II singles favorite this year after finishing 2005 as the 4A singles runner-up.
Jeanelle Stines: The Mountain View senior (with sophomore Shawni Porter) finished last season as the 5A doubles runner-up.
Amanda Martin: The Xavier senior won the 5A doubles title as a freshman but will take a shot at winning a singles title this year as a senior.
OTHER PLAYERS TO WATCH
Billie Drury, Sr., Arcadia Jessica Buterbaugh, Sr., Chaparral Kacie Wagner, So., Gilbert Mele Iongi, Fr., Mountain View Andrea Schams, Sr., Corona del Sol Julie Tukuafu, So., Mountain View Jenny Churosh, Sr., Seton Catholic Katie Callison, Sr., Red Mountain Shawni Porter, So., Mountain View Callie Saxen, Jr., Red Mountain Shailee Reed, Sr., Westwood Emma Lecavalier, So., Mtn. View Shelley Johnson, So., Horizon Red Mountain: With Lindsey Keeler graduated, senior Katie Callison and junior Callie Saxen take over the leadership roles for the defending 5A champion.
TEAMS TO WATCH
Mountain View: The Toros were the 5A runners-up a year ago but should only get better this season with the addition of Mele Iongi to their already deep roster.
Arcadia: Quarterfinalists last season, the Titans return their top two players (Kristen MacWilliam and Billie Drury) while adding a former state champ (Ali Griffin).
Seton Catholic: The Sentinels, led by senior Jenny Churosh, have won back-to-back 3A state titles.
DID YOU KNOW?
• Mountain View senior Jeanelle Stines and sophomore Shawni Porter, the 5A doubles runners-up, defeated their teammates, sophomores Julie Tukuafu and Emma Lacavalier, in the semifinals last season.
• Xavier’s Amanda Martin and Arcadia’s Ali Griffin have each won 5A doubles titles with the same partner, Griffin’s sister, Lindsey.
• Of all East Valley returnees, Gilbert’s Kacie Wagner went the furthest in last season’s 5A tournament, advancing to the quarterfinals.