It's time for area girls tennis teams to set their sights on tournament time as Division II sectional play begins Thursday at Archbold High School.
Defiance, Archbold, Bryan, Wauseon, Napoleon and Ottawa-Glandorf will all be in action at Archbold, and will be joined by Maumee Valley Country Day, Ottoville, Rossford,
Toledo Scott and Ottawa Hills in the quest to move on to district play.
"It will be an interesting day," commented Defiance coach Amy McDonald. "Of the 10 other schools, we have played half of them. Colleen Johns will face Napoleon's Mackensey Steele. They did not play each other during the regular season, since this will be their first time playing against each other, it should be a good match. Hannah Lamb and Cindy Davis will match up against O-G's Jessica Ricker and Alli Parker. We lost in three sets in the regular season and are ready for a rematch."
Archbold coach Amanda Auzins knows the quality of tennis that will be played at her team's home court.
"I believe that all the schools in this sectional have always been tough teams to beat," explained Auzins. "From what I remember when I played in high school, there is a lot of talent from each and every school that participates."
Auzins spent her high school days playing at Napoleon for coach Mike Burke, who recently notched his 700th career coaching victory. His Wildcats come in to the tournament with a stellar 14-3 regular season record. His doubles team of Alayna Schlade and Liz Yarnell earned the number three seed, while Addie Small and Rachel Niermann is the fourth seed.
"It was a rather strange seed meeting as Maumee Valley Country Day, with some outstanding players, didn't even try to get seeded and then they put themselves in against the number four seeds in both singles and doubles in the first round," said Burke. "Small and Niermann have to play the top doubles team from Maumee Valley Country Day, and Ellie Hayati from Wauseon, the fourth singles seed, has to play a returning district qualifier from MVCD."
Despite the wealth of contenders in the bracket, Bryan coach Mitchell Owens finds his top two singles players, Erin McDonagh and Linda McDonagh, seeded second and third respectively.
"I am obviously very happy that our top two singles players were seeded," said Owens. "Additionally, I am pleased with the draw for our other players as they all have a realistic shot at winning at least one sectional match, if not several."
Rounding out the area draw was Ottawa-Glandorf. The Titans finished fifth out of 10 teams in the WBL and will be looking to play their best tennis of the year at tournament time.
"I feel pretty good about our draw," said O-G coach Mary Ellen Lehman. "It's hard to know where we stand as we are normally in the Lima Sectional surrounded by most teams that we play throughout the year. The only teams we have faced in the Archbold Sectional this year are Defiance, Napoleon and Archbold."
It's clear that competition is going to be fierce and any number of teams could be considered the favorite.
Play will begin at Archbold High School and Ruihley Park at 9 a.m.