Lakers girls tennis boasts powerful senior lineup

By: Sue Teggart | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published April 5, 2011

 West Bloomfield High senior Morgan Taylor returns a ball during a March 30 scrimmage against Troy Athens. Taylor, the No. 2 singles player, will lead the Lakers along with seniors Laurel Ruza, Kyra Shink and Yasha Moore.

West Bloomfield High senior Morgan Taylor returns a ball during a March 30 scrimmage against Troy Athens. Taylor, the No. 2 singles player, will lead the Lakers along with seniors Laurel Ruza, Kyra Shink and Yasha Moore.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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Years of shuffling players in and out of her young but deep girls tennis roster will pay off this spring for West Bloomfield High’s veteran coach Bonnie Koch.

Now four senior captains lead the way with Yahsha Moore (No. 1 singles), Morgan Taylor (No. 2 singles), Kyra Shink (No. 3 singles) and Laurel Ruza (No. 1 doubles).

“The heart of this year’s team will be a strong group of seniors,” Koch said. “Most of our returning players have had varsity experience. Competition for most positions will be keen.

“Our four seniors have been on the team four years, and they have great leadership,” Koch continued. “The combination of the seniors and the juniors now, with the experience under their belt, we should be pretty competitive.”

Last year, Moore, Taylor, Shink and Ruza helped the Lakers to a third straight regional championship and a four-way tie for 14th place at the 2010 Division 1 state finals.

Koch said the Lakers — their seniors especially — aim to cap the season by winning their fourth consecutive regional title.

“They work very hard, and they realize the culmination of the whole thing is regionals,” Koch said about her seniors. “We’re working toward qualifying for states.”

“We just really want to win regionals. It’s a really big deal since we’ve done it the past three years,” Taylor said. “We are going to have to work really hard.”

A talented group of juniors — including Jill Freedman, Anjana Nair, Ankita Ajjampur and Meghana Subramanian — join the seniors.

And a handful of freshmen and sophomores will bolster the Lakers’ lineup, which had its doubles teams and No. 4 singles slots unsettled at press time.

“We have freshmen on the team now, and they are going to have to step up,” Taylor said. “I think once they get comfortable with the team, they will play well when they need to.”

While the Lakers rode their young squad to the state finals last year, Koch hopes having a battle-tested team will lead her squad to continued success this year.

“Last year, we had a really young team,” Koch said. “We had lots of new players. These girls — the majority has been there before and knows what it takes.

“And I’d have to say they realize what they have to do to succeed on the court.”
Fans can catch the Lakers in action at 4 p.m. April 12 against North Farmington at home.

 

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