The Sebring girls tennis team has a tough act to follow after last year’s sensational season when the Blue Streaks won district and regional titles and qualified for the Class 3A state tournament.
Sebring has the talent and experience to make another postseason run since four of its top five players are back on the court this season.
“We are coming off a really good year,” said veteran Sebring girls tennis coach Janie Hollinger. “We have most of the girls back this year, they are all experienced and we’re looking forward to having a great season.”
Leading the way is senior Kitty Lackey, who is solid at No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles for the Blue Streaks.
Lackey, who played through a knee injury last year, had successful surgery and is in great shape heading into the season.
“Kitty is tenacious and managed to have a great season last year in spite of being hurt,” said Hollinger. “She had surgery, went through rehab, is strong and ready to go. She hits the ball hard and deep which keeps her opponent on the baseline. That allows her to come to the net and put the point away.”
Senior Alaina Keith will play No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles for the Blue Streaks.
“Alaina was awesome at No. 3 for us last year,” Hollinger said. “She will play No. 2 for us this season and is looking really good. She is a bulldog and loves to compete. She chases every ball down and always gives great effort.”
Senior Destiny Lewis will play No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles this season.
“Destiny has excellent ground strokes,” Hollinger said. “She has good form on her forehand and her backhand and is a tough competitor.”
Sanhitha Raghuveera, a talented and experienced junior, will play No. 4 singles and No. 2 doubles for the Blue Streaks.
“Sanhitha is coming off a strong season and is even better this year,” Hollinger said. “She is a solid player who hits a one-hand backhand. She moves the ball all over the court and is a force to be reckoned with this season.
Lindsey Griffin, a talented senior, went undefeated playing the No. 5 singles position last year, but is out for the season with a knee injury.
“Lindsey tore her meniscus and had to have surgery,” Hollinger said. “She went undefeated and was a rock at No. 5 for us last year. It’s unfortunate since she is a senior, but she is a part of the team and we’re glad to have her with us.”
Madison Koukos, a junior who saw a lot of action last year, will take over at No. 5 singles for the injured Griffin.
“Madison played in a lot of matches last year,” said Hollinger. “She is very competitive, mentally tough and hits the ball very hard. She is the girl no one wants to play. I know she will step up and play great for us.”
Sebring will look to repeat as champions in the very competitive Class 3A-0District 8, which consists of Auburndale, Bartow, Lake Gibson, Lake Region, Kathleen and Winter Haven.
“We’re in a tough district, but we have high expectations” Hollinger said. “Last year Auburndale, Bartow and Lake Region were our main competition, but you never know from year to year which school is going to have good players. We are the only school in our district not from Polk County so we have to do some traveling for away matches. The girls are working hard and have a great attitude. We’re going to take it one match at a time, but after last year, I’m looking for the moon.”
Sebring is at Winter Haven on Tuesday and the Blue Streaks host Bartow on Feb. 23.