The only direction the Lady Blue Devils can go is up, right?
The Tallmadge girls tennis team hasn’t had a whole lot of success in recent years.
Last fall was no exception as the Lady Blue Devils won just one match and were 0-6 in the Suburban League American Conference.
This year’s squad will feature a plethora of new faces.
Tallmadge lost 11 seniors last year, including key players Lauren Roupe, Melissa Sincel, Angel Labbe, Carsynn Boykin and Callie Murray.
The Lady Blue Devils also will be led by a different voice for the first time in more than two decades.
Steven Strasser takes over as head coach this fall. He replaces Russell Wormald, who retired after spending more than 20 years coaching both boys and girls tennis at Tallmadge.
Strasser coached the boys team during the spring.
"I am looking forward to the season and excited to be working with the girls," the first-year coach said. "They have been a great group to work with and I hope we continue to grow as a team throughout the season."
The lone returning varsity player is senior Allie Edwards, who is expected to contribute at first or second singles.
"Allie has some varsity experience from last year’s team," Strasser said. "She will play mostly singles and provide leadership for our young, inexperienced players.
"Allie is a good athlete who moves well on the court. Being consistent with her groundstrokes will be the key to her season."
Also expected to play singles are sophomore Anna Siesel, who played for the junior varsity team last year, and freshman Emily Rotunda.
"Anna will play either first or second singles," Strasser said. "She is another very good athlete who should get better as the season goes on and she gains more experience.
"Emily is another player where experience is going to be very beneficial. She should show growth during the season."
Sophomores Elena Kozma and Claudia Palmer are expected to combine their talents as a doubles team.
"They work very well together and have great attitudes," Strasser said. "They are new players to the program, so the experience of playing in matches is important."
Other players who expect to play doubles are juniors Bella Yates and Emma Douglas and freshman Andrea Harnack.
"The other doubles team will feature some combination of these girls," Strasser said. "Bella was on the team last year and her strength is her serve.
"Emma and Andrea are new players who have both shown a lot of improvement in the early-season practices."
The Lady Blue Devils are scheduled to make their 2018 debut at Massillon next Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.