VERONA, NJ - The Verona girls tennis team is readying themselves for the season looking to take a step forward.

    “Our expectation is to be a very strong contender for the division title and for us to make a good run in counties,” said Head Coach Jonathan Thai.

    In the first singles spot for Verona will be Alyssa Deo. Last season Deo was solid in limited action posting a winning percentage of 66%. Deo will slowly work her way back into the lineup following a foot injury in the preseason.

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    “[Deo] played against really tough competition as a sophomore and had a pretty solid year that year and last season she was injured for most of the year…this season she’s been practicing a lot with the girls and boys.  She’s incredibly quick with a good spin on her forehand,” said Thai.

    In the second singles spot Kylee Gallagher will look to build upon a solid year in 2018. In limited action the senior was .500 in head to head competition while also playing a significant time as a doubles participant. 

    “[Gallagher] played for us at doubles last year.  She was very aggressive using her height, foot speed, and athleticism to her advantage,” said Thai.

    Ashley Baumgard will be in the third singles spot for Verona. Baumguard was a Jill of all trades for the squad last year moving around from second singles to third singles and even doubles for an extended period of time. 

    “[Baumguard] played great for us last year -- she really stepped up her game, this year and she’s really placed the ball well.  She’s very persistent,” said Thai.

    For the first doubles spot Verona will utilize the team of Sara Sexton and Gillian O’Donnell. The senior duo will look to continue their chemistry that’s built up over the last several seasons.

    “[Sexton and O’Donnell] you can tell they have a really good rapport and relationship with each other and it shows off the court as well,” said Thai.

    The second doubles unit will be rounded out with Brooke Anquillare and Claire Jackson. 

    “[Jackson and Anquillare] are pretty close friends off the court as well so I try to figure out who is not just going to make a good pair Xs and Os wise, but they get along off the court because doubles is a completely different game…those two have that,” said Thai.

    Currently as the season draws near the squad has focused on a number of scrimmages and the psychological elements of the game.  The group has displayed solid results so far for their coach.

    “We’ve discussed serve placement and high percentage tennis strategies and we’re trying to be as aggressive as we can be on our ground strokes and the girls have done a pretty good job of understanding,” said Thai.

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