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Published September 21st, 2016
Local Girls' Tennis Teams Set for League Play
Photo Gint Federas

Typically, Steve Robinson - the head coach of the Campolindo girls' tennis team - has one or two freshmen in his sqaud. This fall, the number of newcomers is much higher than that.
"It's kind of a young team," Robinson explained. "We have six freshmen that are in the mix in our starting 12 players. So, that's kind of unusual."
For the Cougars, who have already played a noncoference home match against Cal High and traveled to the Logan Tournament at James Logan High School in Union City, the youth movement was brought about by the fact that eight students graduated last year.
Robinson has relied on a pair of junior standouts to guide his young collection of players.
"Returning from last year we have two all-conference players Jessalyn Simon-Parker and Hannah McDonnell," Robinson said. "[Hannah] was all-conference in doubles and Jessalyn was all-conference in singles."
Simon-Parker had been in line to be Campo's top singles player, but she's been sidelined with an injury.
"Senior Vivian McGwan has been playing in the No. 1 position," Robinson said. "And she has been playing very strong tennis for us."
With the Cougars set to begin play in the newly formed Diablo Athletic League with a home match against Las Lomas on Sept. 22, Robinson views his team as a challenger for the top spot in the conference.
"I expect us to contend for the league championship - probably with Acalanes, Las Lomas and Miramone - but I think we'll do well," Robinson said.
Like his counterpart at Campolindo, Miramonte head coach Michael McCollum will be trying to steer a youthful team to the top of the DAL standings.
"I think right now we're a team that's in transition," McCollum said. "We've got a solid group of seniors that will contribute, but mostly I'm looking at younger kids right now tyring to work toward the future."
McCollum said he had 64 players combined on the junior varsity and varsity rosters after a record turnout at the program's August tryouts.
"I'm just getting my feet on the ground from the tryouts and all the administrative stuff related to establishing a team that big," McCollum said. "So, the enthusiasm level at Miramonte is really high."
In that crowd, juniors Allison Burkhalter and Olivia Kudszus have emerged as the stars on the singles and doubles ladders, respectively.
"Olivia and Allison have both done a really good job in both leadership and in play," McCollum said.
The Mats played a preseason match against Freedom High, had nonconference meetings with Monte Vista and Piedmont and also joined the Cougars at the Logan Tournament. The team's first DAL action comes on Sept. 22 when they face College Park in a non-division match in Orinda.
"I think the competition in the Valley (Division of the DAL) is going to be between - as usual - Campo, Acalanes and us fighting to do well," McCollum said.
While Acalanes didn't begin its DAL slate until hosting Berean Christian in a non-division match on Sept. 20, the Dons have already played a busy preseason schedule.
"We hope to this year exhibit a new foundation in the sense that we're taking tennis seriously and that we're focused," head coach Stephanee Lawrence said. "We hope to give the best shot at being the champions of our new league."
Beginning Aug. 22 with a scrimmage against Benicia in Lafayette, the Dons made seven different stops in a three-week stretch, capped off with a trip to the Freson Invitational from Sept. 8 to 10.
"We have two great senior captains," Lawrence said of her established leaders. "I have Skylar Jeveli and for singles and I have Quinn Harrington for doubles."
Lawrence will be counting on the pair of seniors both on the court and off it.
"They've both been playing well," Lawrence said. "And they're leading the girls just to take a sense of accountability and responsibility for working hard at practice and learning and getting coaching and being the best they can - kind of a new esprit de corps, if you will."

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