Depth, leadership on, off court provide focus for New Palestine

NEW PALESTINE — With 16 years professional tennis teaching experience, New Palestine girls tennis coach Des Evans knows the game.

Any questions about that were answered last fall, when he guided the boys tennis team to a 20-2 campaign, a county and sectional championship.

However, he enters the spring in a new position with a team that features 36 players, and a lot of leadership.

“We have quite a turnout. I am giving everyone a chance to play,” said Evans.

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“I want to get everyone involved in the game. Our focus is on playing well and good sportsmanship.”

Leading the way will be senior Amelia Fleetwood, who Evans expects to play No. 1 singles.

“Amelia is pretty steady and I expect her to do well this season,” Evans said.

Fellow seniors Katie Settergren and Lexi Miller are projected to round out the singles lineup, and Evans admits both can play at a high level.

“Katie will be a steady player and Lexi is consistent. Both are steady,” Evans said.

The “leader” of the team, according to Evans, is returning doubles player Lauren Hardebeck.

“She is our captain. She is a really accomplished doubles player,” Evans said.

At No. 2 doubles, Evans is unsure who will field those positions, but he expects Josie King, a freshman, Lauren Henry and Caylie Almond to contend.

“I think we can cause a few surprises for teams this year, and have a reasonable season. The girls are experienced and focused on having a good season. Mt. Vernon is traditionally a strong team, and we will see if we can have a rivalry with them like we did the boys,” Evans said.

At a glance

Team: New Palestine

Coach: Des Evans, 1st year

2014-15 record: 6-8

2014-15 results: 2nd at Hancock County, 2nd at Mt. Vernon Sectional (Lost 4-1 to Mt. Vernon in sectional final)

2015-16 Projected Lineup

No. 1 singles: Amelia Fleetwood (12)

No. 2 singles: Katie Settergren (12)

No. 3 singles: Lexi Miller (12)

No. 1 doubles: Lauren Hardebeck (12) and Cassie Willhelm (11)

No. 2 doubles: Open competition

Team Schedule

April 5: vs. Shenandoah, 5:30 p.m.

April 8: at New Castle, 4:30 p.m.

April 12: at Triton Central, 4:30 p.m.

April 15: at Franklin Central, 4:30 p.m.

April 16: at Mt. Vernon Invitational, 9 a.m.

April 19: at Fishers, 4:30 p.m.

April 21: vs. Yorktown, 4:30 p.m.

April 22: Hancock County Meet at Mt. Vernon, 5 p.m.

April 26: vs. Greenfield-Central, 5:30 p.m.

April 27: at Beech Grove, 4:30 p.m.

April 28: vs. Delta, 5:30 p.m.

May 5: at Morristown, 4:30 p.m.

May 6: at Shelbyville, 5 p.m.

May 9: vs. Mt. Vernon, 4:30 p.m.

May 11: at Whiteland, 4:30 p.m.

May 13: vs. Pendleton Heights, 4:30 p.m.