Young Hampton girls tennis team pushes on without Cordisco

Thursday, August 29, 2019 | 6:00 PM

The Hampton girls tennis team is left to contend with a big loss it hardly gained begin with. But the team makeup remains the same and provides hope for the future.

The Talbots looked to be locked in as a playoff contender with the top freshman in the state, Madison Cordisco, joining its ranks last year. Additionally, its two other singles players, Gabrielle Miller and Megan Kang, were talented freshmen.

But Cordisco battled shoulder tendinitis and sat out the majority of last season. She eventually decided to forego her sophomore year in high school tennis and attend a private tennis academy.

“She texted me late July a very nice and considerate text,” coach Grant McKinney said. “She said, ‘I got into a pretty good program, and it’s a good opportunity. I’m going to take it.’ I immediately reached out to the other rising sophomore, Gabby, and said, ‘Hey you’re going to be first singles this year.’ ”

And so Miller made the jump from her third position as a freshman to the top singles position. She snagged her first singles win the second match of the season, which Hampton won over Seneca Valley two weeks ago.

“She’s moving up a couple slots, and there’ll be some growing pains but she’ll push through it,” McKinney said. “I think she has a very solid shot, ground stroke and serve. She just needs to develop and identity and learn how to be aggressive at points. That comes with age and experience: how to play that chess match that sometimes tennis is.”

Second singles player Kang is in a similar position, having experienced singles as a freshman last year.

“She really does a god job of thinking through points,” McKinney said. “She knows she wants to bring her opponent up and try a lob, then try a backhand shot. She’s still working on executing the shots but has a good approach mentally to the game.”

Miller and Kang have older sisters, Abby and Grace, respectively, who played tennis for Hampton. Coincidentally, they occupied the same spots in singles competition three years ago.

Junior Lindsey Schwarzbach moves into third singles. McKinney thinks she has the makeup of a strong player at her compeititon level despite her inexperience.

“She’s a lacrosse player that played tennis the last two years, so she’s still learning the game,” he said. “But she’s very athletic and energetic. Sometimes that’s what you need to get the job done at third singles: someone who’s willing to be an athlete, run around and get points.”

Much like last season, upperclassmen occupy the doubles teams.

“The seniors on the team that have been on varsity are doubles players through and through,” said McKinney “They like doubles and articulated that’s what they want to play.”

Senior captains Allie Crist and Ella Hilton will run one team, and, along with Kang and Miller, are the only players returning. Seniors Leah Cummins and Karissa Miller, who is adjusting from singles to doubles, make up the second doubles pair.

The inexperience, along with the sudden loss of Cordisco, leaves McKinney and his team in a tough position to compete for a playoff spot. But that’s not everything.

“Sometimes that makes for the ability to set some high goals and see a lot of growth and improvement in the year,” McKinney said. “They’re all kind of in this together, and they’re all willing to play as one team. It’s been good fun so far.”


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