All things considered, the Manchester Essex girls tennis team probably didn’t need any help.
Two years removed from a Division 3 State Championship and a year off a 17-2 campaign, the Hornets enter this season with just as much firepower returning as they’ve grown accustomed to.
Without senior Brittany Collens’ return, they’d probably still be among the state’s Division 3 favorites. With the New Mexico State-bound star, who hasn’t played with the Hornets since her freshman season, rejoining the team, Manchester Essex’s season appears about as close to state-title-or-bust as a high school season can get.
“The last couple years, the team hasn’t had very many losses,” first-year coach Phil Logsdon. “Very strong team, and with the three great captains and Brittany Collens coming back, all four are great leaders for the team and can really make a difference in bringing the team together.”
Collens, a gifted tournament player who’s spent the past few years training heavily at the Manchester Athletic Club, will assume the No. 1 singles spot for the Hornets in the fall.
The crazy thing is that she’s bumping junior co-captain Michelle Fuca, who’s been dominant in the No. 1 slot for the past three years for the Hornets, down to No. 2, only further establishing the team’s dominance.
Throw in fellow co-captains Kendall McCormick (No. 3 singles), Rachel Daley (No. 1 doubles) and newcomer Chanel Bullock, a seventh-grader who’ll likely play doubles, and a traditional powerhouse looks as strong as ever.
“We’ve got some great returning players, and throw a great tournament player like Brittany Collens into the lineup, this team looks very solid,” Logsdon said.
Elsewhere in the area, the Rockport girls tennis squad looks to be pushing back toward success after a disappointing 4-10 campaign last season.