The Stratford High School girls tennis team has advanced to the playoffs under Dan Ellis in all of his three years at the helm.
The 2019 squad brings back two singles starters from last year, including all-region player Elizabeth Sivertsen at No. 1 singles.
Aubrey Eudy is the other starter coming back. Both are multi-year lettermen on the court for Stratford.
“We have to try and replace five seniors from last season and many young ladies are working hard with that,” Ellis said.
Stratford placed third in the region last fall and lost in the first round of the playoffs to Ashley Ridge.
The Lady Knights begin the regular season at Fort Dorchester on Aug. 27 before hosting Ashley Ridge on Sept. 3. They travel to Summerville on Sept. 5 and host Hanahan on Sept. 9.
The rest of the non-region slate is West Ashley at home on Sept. 12 and Colleton County and Georgetown at home on Sept. 14.
The Region 7-AAAAA schedule opens Sept.17 at James Island.
Defending Lower State champion Wando, Cane Bay, Berkeley and Goose Creek are also in the region.
“Region will be tough,” Ellis said. “Everyone has been steadily improving over the years. Wando is still the team to beat. We hope to be very competitive. We want to keep our playoff streak alive. We’re working on getting past the first round.”
Leading candidates for other singles spots are freshman Sarah Suter, sophomore Ayoola Oladimeji and junior Livia Souza. Sydney Blass returns as a solid doubles starter and will likely partner with junior Sydney Polite.
Ellis said other members working hard for playing time are Vanessa Rodriguez, Rica Espinosa, Khristine Mercader and Kyzelle Espinosa.
Newcomers on the squad include senior Nayela Perez, junior Takoyah Johnson, freshman Amanda Mills and Maggie Shaffer, and seventh graders Kendal Johnson and Darlene Rodriguez.