BY ANDY ROWER | MIRROR SPORTS — Following a seven-win season last year, Maumee’s girls tennis team has begun 2017 with a renewed sense of optimism. “Although the team is small with only nine girls coming out, the skill level is higher than in years past,” said fifth-year Maumee girls tennis coach Liz Moulton. “We are deeper this year and I think we are in a better position to win more courts.” The Panthers return all five of their top position players from last year, including third-year senior Parker Caesar, who played at first singles as a junior. Though this year’s final positions had yet to be finalized at the time of The Mirror’s interview with Moulton, she said, “Caesar’s talents and leadership put her in a good position to keep that top spot on the team.” Also back are fourth-year senior Sarah Demagall (played at second singles last year), second-year sophomore Makayla Gast (third singles/first doubles) and third-year juniors Lindsey Krist (first doubles/third singles) and Claire Waller (first doubles). “Each of these girls has the experience and tennis talents to make Maumee’s team a great one this year,” Moulton said. New to the team is an impressive batch of underclassmen in sophomore Kayla Harrigan and freshmen Cazie Demagall, Emily Heidbreder and Allie Karrenbauer. “This year’s freshmen are showing a lot of promise and are poised to immediately make an impact on the Panthers team,” Moulton said. “Cazie Durham will be vying for one of the top singles spots and her consistent ground strokes will give her an edge. “Emily Heidbreder also has experience playing tennis and should make an impact this season.” Moulton went on to say that she sees each and every one of the players being played in the varsity rotation due to their small numbers. Maumee opens its season at Bryan on Monday, August 14 at 1:00 p.m. The Panthers will then host Bowsher the next day, travel to Jermain Park for a match against Start on Wednesday, August 16 and host Waite on Thursday, August 17. All three of the latter matches have 4:30 p.m. start times. “Look for this team to shine brightly on the tennis court,” Moulton said.