WILLIAMSTOWN - The Mount Greylock girls' tennis team will look a whole lot different this season. Five of the team's seven players from last season have graduated. All three singles players and one player from each doubles team are gone. The only returners are Margot Besnard and Tyra Nurmi.
That had coach John Jacobbe a little nervous about his team before the season started. Two weeks after the team started practicing, Jacobbe is starting to feel better.
"Going into the season, I knew what we lost and now that is in the review mirror and I'm looking at what we have," Jacobbe said. "We have some girls who can keep the ball in play and really enjoy the game of tennis. They all want to continually improve and as a coach that is really what you want in a team."
With more than a week of practice still to go before the season opens up, the Mounties are still trying to figure out exactly what the roster will look like. The only sure thing is Besnard, a senior. She will start the season as the team's No. 1 singles player. " Margot is just a natu r a l leader," Jacobbe said. "She just takes charge and is very comp etitive. She has some experience and is a solid player." Nurmi played at No. 2 doubles last season and her team went undefeated. She is looking to challenge for a singles position this season and will be a captain on the squad. Juniors Melina and Mariza Sfakianaki will also challenge for a spot, after moving to the area over the summer.
Sophomore Sophia Gebara also has a little experience on the varsity team as she filled in during a match or two last season. She will also look to challenge for a top spot. Freshman Tara Shastri and Charlotte Rand will also look to challenge for a singles spot.
"I'm going to make a challenge ladder and have them play for the top spots," Jacobbe said. "That way everyone is competitive and has a chance.
"I have about six girls who should be able to play at singles."
There are six other players that Jacobbe feels can play on the varsity team as doubles players.
"We have some very solid hitters," Jacobbe said. "They just don't have that experience playing at this level. They'll get there." The Mounties had 19 girls come out for tryouts, several of which are seventh-andeighth graders. The team has now split into different groups as Jacobee attempts to round out the varsity roster.
Last season, a senior-laden roster brought the Mounties to the tournament as the No. 5 seed. The ride came to an end at the hands of Lenox, a team that went on to win the Western Massachusetts title.
"Obviously, the goal every year is to make the tournament," Jacobbe said. "We're going to try and compete against teams that we can and know that we have some teams ahead of us. We know that we have room to grow this year, so we're just hoping to continue growing.
"We'll have to find the teams that we can be competitive against and try to improve later in the year against the others."