By DAN NUNN
NORTH READING — After losing just one starter to graduation from a team that made it to the Division 3 North quarterfinals last season, the Lady Hornets are poised to challenge for the Cape Ann League Kinney Division large school tennis crown.
Head coach Matt Finn is excited about his team’s prospects in the 2015 season. “With most of last year’s varsity team coming back, as well as the addition of some strong freshmen, this team has the opportunity to do better than any team I have coached in the past. Our goal is to claim the CAL Kinney title,” he said.
North Reading has great young talent at all three singles positions. Sophomore Marissa Galuppo, who Finn says is his most talented player, will play at first singles. Fellow sophomore Aly Budney will play at second singles. Finn has been really impressed by both athletes. “Marissa and Aly, the top two players on my team, have made huge improvements since last season. The work they have put in this off-season has really shown so far at practice,” he said.
Newcomer, freshman Tia Campagna, will play at third singles. According to Finn, she quickly established herself this preseason as one of the best players on the team.
Both doubles teams are comprised of four of the six senior captains. Meg Carlo and Kaylin Scher will be positioned at first doubles while Lian Atlas and Jenny Crotty team up for second doubles. The remaining two captains, Rachel Manzelli and Amanda Lee, will provide plenty of leadership as well.
The Hornets will need all of this talent to navigate the always tough CAL. But Coach Finn is confident this team can challenge for the league title and surpass last year’s success.
Home courts at Northeast Tennis Ctr.
The weather and snow cover has not adversely affected the tennis team as it has other sports teams because the Hornets will continue to practice and compete this season at the Northeast Tennis Center, located off River Road in Middleton, due to the ongoing construction at the former North Reading Middle School.
The team faced Malden in the season opener on Tuesday (after press time). They host Rockport next Tuesday, April 14 at 3:30 p.m. and travel to Newburyport on Wednesday, April 15 and Hamilton-Wenham on Friday, April 17.