EDITOR’S NOTE: On Wednesday, March 25, the Nebraska School Activities Association suspended all activity practices and competitions through May 1 due to COVID-19.

These suspensions may be extended should the conditions warrant. Until an official decision has been made in regards to spring sports, the York News-Times sports department will be running its spring sports previews for girls and boys track and soccer, as well as boys golf and girls tennis, in the daily sports section.

YORK – The loss of Morgan Peterson and Kaitlyn Phinney to graduation has the York Dukes girls’ tennis team starting out pretty green in the experience area.

The Dukes will also be smaller in numbers, but that could actually turn out to be in the Dukes’ favor.

York head coach Josh Miller said that the work by several players over the course of the offseason could also serve the Dukes well in the long run.

“This group is setting up to be one of the smallest teams we’ve had in a while in terms of numbers,” Miller said. “Hopefully that will allow our players to get more reps and we’ll see improvement in a shorter period of time. At least four of these girls have been taking lessons over the winter, so that should help us get off to a quick start when practice begins. I like the talent we have in the younger players, but they have very little experience.”

Last year at No. 1 singles, senior Lilly Holthus posted a record of 12-16 and bowed out of the state tournament in the first round. The No. 2 singles position is up for grabs, as is the No. 1 doubles spot, which was occupied by Peterson and Phinney.

Last year the No. 2 doubles team of Erin Case and Natalie Rockenbach had a great season with a record of 24-11, and they made it all the way to the Class B semifinals.

“Last year we were able to have some success in doubles, but I know our singles players were not satisfied,” Miller said. “The loss of Kaitlyn Phinney and Morgan Peterson will definitely set us back as far as experience goes, but I think we have a couple juniors who can step in and make an immediate impact.”

Other players who are expected to play a role this year include juniors Addison Legg (1-3), Meaghan Rowe (1-3) and Riley Stuhr (1-3). Miller also mentioned senior Emma Ziemba as a player to keep an eye on. She was 1-3 at No. 2 singles in 2019.

We added a couple events this year and hopefully that will give them more opportunity to log court time,” Miller said.

The season is currently on hold due of COVID-19. The soonest the season could start is after May 1.

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