Shawnee Dispatch

Deep, talented SMNW girls tennis team eyeing spectacular season

August 30, 2006

Shawnee Mission Northwest girls tennis coach Ken Clow has a unique but not unwelcomed problem.

He has 15 quality players.

While that may seem to be a good problem to have, Clow's mind these days is busy trying to set a lineup for a team in which just about any of his 15 could play in the top six spots -- the point-scoring positions in most matches.

"We should be stronger this year," Clow said. "The girls are probably better ground strokers than anything else. I do have a few who are pretty good at the net."

Currently, Clow lists Sanja Gunia at his No. 1 slot while Jonah Jonjic takes up the No. 2 position. Kelly Jones rests in the third spot with Ashley Burdolski, Mary Brauer, and Lindsey Epperson at Nos. 4, 5 and 6, respectively.

However, Clow warns that Cougar fans should not get used to those rankings as they could change week by week, day by day, or match by match.

In addition, the team has yet to engage in any serious challenge play for movement up and down the team's ladder.

With as many good players as Clow has on his team this season, the coach anticipates much fluctuation on that ladder.

With that being said, Clow believes that his team is ready to make a dent in the Sunflower League standings, but is undecided about whether the squad is ready for competition beyond that.

"I think we can do well in league," Clow said. "But in regionals you have to be very strong at the number ones. Shawnee Mission East and the Blue Valley teams are always very strong at the number ones and that's our region."

The Cougars begin the season Thursday, Aug. 31, with a quad meet against Olathe North, Olathe Northwest, and Shawnee Mission South.

The matches begin at 3 p.m. at SM South.

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