Duneland Athletic Conference
Players to watch: J.J. Lee, Sr.; Abby Burke, Jr.; Natalie Petro, Jr.; Ellen Kerr, Jr.
Outlook: Coach Gretchen Shinn lost her top two singles players. Daughter Margaret graduated, while junior Meg Modesto is being home-schooled and is no longer a part of the team. A lot of positions are up for grabs this season.
Players to watch: Abby Kvachkoff, Sr.; Madie Cleland, Sr.; Olivia Elston, Jr.; Angela Zieba, Sr.
Outlook: An experienced team returns for coach Brian Elston. The team is practicing hard despite the cold weather, and are making great strides on improving their games. "I believe if the girls continue with their work we will have a successful season as we try to compete with the other teams on our schedule," Elston said.
Players to watch: Jory Swider, Sr.; Andjela Jovanovic, Sr.; Navneet Kaur, Jr.; Kristi Tinsley, Fr.
Outlook: The Indians lost most of their varsity team from last season to graduation, so a young and aggressive squad will compete with each other for many open varsity spots. "They're young and eager. Most on the team have some tennis skills," coach Bryan Szalonek said.
Players to watch: Lauren Sterling, Sr.; Caroline Boger, Jr.; Jill Boger, So.; Madison Shreves, So.
Outlook: Five starters return from last season, including All-DAC pick Caroline Boger,plus freshmen Abi Glass and Grace Scissom could make their way into the lineup. The Slicers were 7-9 last season, and coach Nick Garstka believes his team should be over .500 this year.
Outlook: The Pirates lost Miranda Vega to graduation. They will need to find someone to fill her shoes as Merrillville works to compete in the tough DAC.
Players to watch: Claire Hirsch, Sr.; Megan Methner, Jr.; Kristen Palmer, Jr.; Dana Pedzinski, Jr.
Outlook: The Wolves, 16-5 last year, lost their top two singles players to graduation. Several new faces could dot the starting lineup.
Players to watch: Mandy Haupt, Sr.; Patti Mota, Sr.; Lauren Wilk, Sr.; Emily Sajda, So.
Outlook: Haupt and Sajda will vie for the No. 1 singles spot for new coach Scott Garrison. The Indians are young, with 10 freshmen among the 24 players on the roster. Eight juniors are looking for their chance to break through on the varsity.
Players to watch: Caitlin Kennedy, Sr.; Kelly Kennedy, Sr.; Brooke Sever, Sr.; Rachel Willing, Sr.
Outlook: The Vikings have plenty of experience back on the roster, but questions still remain. Willing will battle sophomores Rachel Crookston and Madisen Kammerer for singles spots. Don't be surprised to see both Kennedy sisters in doubles this season.
Great Lakes Athletic Conference
Players to watch: Ashley Famania, Sr.; Wideli Moralas, Jr.
Outlook: After losing five of seven varsity spots to graduation last season, the Pioneers will be in rebuilding mode this season. "We have 33 girls that survived conditioning and all have heart and desire to win," coach Veronica Dupey said.
Players to watch: Krystina Patricio, Sr.; Samantha Cole, Sr.
Outlook: Coach Meg Doughman said the incoming freshmen have a lot of heart and are invigorating the upperclassmen. Expectations are up in the air as this year's lineup is much different than 2013.
Players to watch: Cinthya Rodriguez, Sr.; Miriam Alvarado, Sr.; Kim Allen, Sr.; Alondra Ramirez, Sr.
Outlook: The Wildcats return six of seven starters from last season's team that went 7-4. "We want to win conference and the city tournament. Anything less will be disappointing," coach Nathan Foor said. Conditioning has went well, and it should be a good season.
Players to watch: Nancy Martinez, Sr.; Karla Gallegos, Jr.; Michaela Egriova, Sr.; Kristin Shine, Sr.; Lindsey Dridgman, Sr.; Shelby Rodriguez, Sr.; Celeste Rosillo, Sr.
Outlook: The Governors will go for their sixth straight conference championship behind the strength of a squad dominated with experienced seniors. Expectations are very high in Hessville this season. "Nancy is the fastest kid on the team. She's really transformed herself into a tough-as-nails kid," coach Deb Luken said. Egriova is a foreign exchange student from Slovakia and will provide added depth.
Greater South Shore Conference
Outlook: Four talented seniors graduated last season from a Warriors squad that lost in the E.C. Central Sectional championship to Whiting. It could be a rebuilding season.
Player to watch: Tania Flores, Sr.
Outlook: Former Portage coach Joe White takes over this season and will attempt to build a feeder program over the next couple years to help the high school program evolve. The Warriors won just one match last season, so baby steps will need to be taken, but White thinks they can improve that win total to three.
Players to watch: Ivanna Micic, So.; Hannah Blue, Jr.; Frankie Perturelo, Jr.; Emily Linz, Sr.
Outlook: The Wildcats expect a winning season despite some bad news that coach Greg Whitacre received not long ago. Hanover Central's home tennis courts have been condemned, and the team has resorted to practicing on the gym floor and trying to find outdoor courts in a different town to practice on.
Outlook: Lake Station didn't lose any seniors to graduation last season, so improving upon the 2013 campaign should be an attainable goal.
Players to watch: Taylor Bowen, Sr.; Stephanie Espar, Sr.; Mdison White, Sr.; Abigail Schmidt, Jr.
Outlook: Raymond Silvas returns for his second stint as coach of the Blazers, who lost four players to graduation last season. Silvas still feels his team can be competitive.
Outlook: Last year, the Ingots lost Gaby Gonzalez and Milagro Miranda to graduation. Coach Beau Breummer will need to fill those two holes in the lineup to be competitive.
Player to watch: Celeste Garcia, Sr.; Karlee Guerrero, Jr.; Milena Raketic, Jr.
Outlook: Garcia takes over at No. 1 singles this season. Coach Mike Rosta believes freshmen Emma Heinold, Gabriella Ramirez and Haley Collins should challenge for varsity time this season.
Players to watch: Grace Huss, Sr.; Brianna Baez, So.; Maira Huizar, Jr.; Alivia Jakubowski, Jr.; Kaylynn Anderson, Sr.
Outlook: The Oilers have been full of intensity in practice this season, and coach Arthur Young expects improvement from last year's team that won a sectional title. Huss is one of the top tennis players in Northwest Indiana.
Northwest Crossroads Conference
Players to watch: Colleen Anderson, Jr.; Megan Kaminski, Jr.
Outlook: Despite losing six players to graduation last season, the 59ers are still shooting for a winning season. Rebuilding is not on the mind of coach Carol Metzcus. "The girls are very competitive and they hate to lose. When they hate to lose, they're willing to put in the work," she said. Anderson and Kaminski are the only players back with varsity experience, but a number of talented up-and-comers will help the 59ers.
Outlook: The Panthers lost three starters to graduation last season, so new faces will have to step up for Griffith in the tough NCC.
Player to watch: Holly Santaguida, Jr.
Outlook: The Trojans graduated five players from last season's squad, so a lot of new faces will fill the lineup. Coach Jordan Heckard believes the team will surprise a lot of people this season once the girls get varsity experience under their belts. "We have had great energy in practice thus far this year. The girls are very eager to learn and improve," Heckard said.
Outlook: Losing Geena Lammertin and Mikayla Small to graduation will hurt, but the Brickies should remain a fairly strong team in the NCC.
Outlook: A good mix of youth and experience dotted the Kougars roster last season. The Kougars should fare even better as that youth has continued to develop.
Players to watch: Kristina Stefoski, Sr.; Meredith Sharkey, So., Veronica Stefoski, So.
Outlook: Lowell is coming off a rebuilding year and really working on the mental aspect of tennis. Last season, coach Kevin Deal said the Red Devils shot themselves in the foot during some matches, and the goal is to develop a stronger mental game so that doesn't happen again this season. Deal expects most matches to be won or lost in close fashion.
Players to watch: Jessica Rooth, Sr., Nikki Heiniger, Jr.
Outlook: Time and again, the Mustangs are at the top of Northwest Indiana's girls tennis teams in terms of talent. Losing Paige Heuer, Erica Tritsch and Marianna Rogers to graduation last season definitely hurt, but new coach Patrick Spohr should still have a talented roster.
Player to watch: Lauren Jakubczyk, Sr.; Stephanie Montreuil, Sr.
Outlook: Katie Sarnowski, a 2007 Portage grad, takes her first tennis coaching position. Montreuil played No. 1 singles last season, and Jakubczyk is a St. Joseph recruit. Eighteen girls came out for the team, including seven new players, so this could be a season of learning.
Players to watch: Fabiola Guillen, Sr.; Kayla Cast, Sr.; Sunayh Jones, Sr.
Outlook: Coach Dave Lane expects a competitive season. There are 20 girls out for the program, and there is good senior leadership up front. Guillen and Cast are battling to start at No. 1 singles, and Lane said whoever doesn't get that spot will team with Jones at No. 1 doubles. "My biggest problem is going to be who will take that No. 1 singles spot. There's nobody clear cut," Lane said.
Outlook: Grace Rodibaugh graduated from last season's team, but the Bombers should remain competitive in most matches.
Player to watch: Crae Johnson, Sr.
Outlook: Coach Dora Hubbard is confident that Johnson, who plays year round, can lead the team this season. Practices have been limited to hitting balls inside the school due to the weather, but Hubbard expects a stronger season than in 2013.
-- Compiled by Times writers Jim Hunsley and Matt Douthett