Providence finished the 2018 season as the No. 3 team in the state and returns two of the top players in the state. Senior Halli Trinkle was the individual singles state champion and Natalie Boesing is also among the state's top players.
So Trinkle's quest to repeat and the the Pioneers' mission to return to the state finals are two of the top storylines.
Following are five big questions for the high school tennis season in Clark and Floyd counties.
How big is the returning duo of Trinkle and Boesing?
Coach Scott Gurgol has work to do in replacing four key seniors in the lineup, but returning two of the top players in the state is obviously a good starting point.
Trinkle signed to play at the College of Charleston last fall.
"Her coach told her 'Go defend your title. That's the best thing you can do to prepare you for college,'" Gurgol said. "We’e excited that he’s on board with her playing high school tennis.”
Natalie Boesing, a three-sport standout who keeps busy training for tennis during cross country and basketball seasons, was also an all-state singles player.
Are the Pioneers’ sophomores up to the task?
The Pioneers’ tough job is replacing three four-year varsity players in the lineup.
"We have three sophomores who are very talented but aren't battle-tested like our seniors were. The key is trying to get them into pressure situations and trying to get their experience levels up," Gurgol said.
Sophomores Anna Coe, Emma Kaelin and Avery Kraft are among those looking to step into big varsity roles for the Pioneers.
“Anna is probably the most consistent of the three and she’s a lefty. It’s hard for a right-hander to handle a lefty. The ball spins different,” Gurgol said. "Avery Kraft is a consistent baseliner. Very good forehand. They’re all very athletic. All came from families that play multiple sports. We’re excited for the talent. It’s just getting them match ready.”
Senior captain Hannah Conder has enjoyed the off-season and preseason with the younger players.
"I’m excited to see what this team can do. We’re losing four seniors. It will be exciting to get new people on the team. It’s going to be fun. They’re all three, really fun girls. They do work hard and are at practice every day working as hard as everyone else,” Conder said.
Last spring playing junior varsity and a busy off-season have prepared Coe, she said.
"I was getting prepared for next year, knowing I was going to be on varsity. It was fun to experience just being on the team,” Coe said. “We still don’t know the lineup for sure. I could play doubles or he could put me at No. 3 singles.”
Can young Jeffersonville take a step forward?
For a third straight season, the Red Devils have freshmen prepared to start at the varsity level, coach Curt Roehm said.
Addie Rose Scott and Alexis Evans are prepared to step in and contribute as freshmen.
"I have a couple of girls this year who can swing the racquet with the best of them. They need some match play experience but the future is bright for the Lady Devils tennis program," Roehm said.
The Red Devils also return seniors Emma Ellis and Kassie Brown at No. 1 and No. 2 singles. Sophomores Loran Halstead and Lydia Kittrell and juniors Alayna Lacy and Olivia Bischof also have varsity experience.
What does a new coach mean for Floyd Central?
Nick Roby, who played tennis at IU Southeast and has aspirations to coach at the college level, is hopeful he can help a quality Floyd Central program continue to progress as he cuts his teeth in the coaching profession.
"Throughout college I knew I couldn't live without the sport," Roby said. "I love the team atmosphere. My main goal is to be a head college tennis coach. I'm living in the present now. I like all the people at Floyd Central. It's a warming community."
The 2017 IUS graduate has been an assistant with the Highlanders while also assisting at IUS. Roby inherits a program that has won 18 straight sectional titles but hasn't won a regional since 2015.
"I've worked with a lot of these girls through clinics and my time here. Now I can coach them in a different style. I hope to get them thinking on the court instead of only being focused on the technical part," Roby said.
The Highlanders, the defending Hoosier Hills Conference champs, return seniors Brenna Holcomb, Lauren Timberlake and No. 1 singles player Jasmine Shireman. Juniors Michelle Marin and Lindsey Dorsch as well as Allison Chaleunphonh are also in the mix along with sophomores Lauren Fancher, Brooke Ellis, Amanda Martin and Grace Thrasher.
"I want everyone competing out there. I want to be able to use a whole lot of mix of people. It would be great to have tough decisions. You never know when you'll have injuries. I want to have full confidence with everyone I put in the lineup," Roby said.
What's in store for Silver Creek with high roster turnover?
Silver Creek won a third straight sectional title in 2018 — and took runner-up in the Mid-Southern Conference — but junior No. 1 singles player Anna Graves is the only starter returning. Coach Ben Ahlbrand has lost athletes to injuries or to focus on other sports.
"Our goals haven't changed. We predominantly had won the sectional and conference title. That fell off for a bit. I look to continue that tradition and hope to compete for a regional title," Ahlbrand said.