LB tennis teams kick things off with Northside Monday

Boys and girls tennis will open the Lord Botetourt spring sports season next week as the Cavaliers meet Northside Monday. The girls will be at home, at Hollins University, and the Vikings will host the boys match.

On Tuesday, March 14, baseball and softball open against Salem. The baseball team will host the Spartans in Daleville while the softball team goes to the Moyer Complex in Salem for their season opener.

It will be a busy time for Botetourt athletes, with seven sports competing in the spring. All but track open next week, and previews are as follows:

BASEBALL

The Cavaliers lost two strong pitchers from last year in Matt Henderlite and Ryan Fralin, and Patrick Kepler, Dakota Duke and Christian Orange will be counted on to carry the load. They’re capable, and Alex Dunn also should see some time on the mound as well as a couple boys coming up from the jayvee team, Hunter Duke and Drew Bond.

“We lost a lot of innings on the mound and an all-state catcher (Alex Snyder), but hopefully the young guys will gain experience early in the year and be ready to make a post-season run,” said coach Todd Smith.

Returning starters include Ty Maust at short, infielder Caleb Franklin and Orange, Dakota Duke and Kepler can also play positions. Ethan Humbert and Jordan Brake played a lot last year and expecting to do big things this year. Hunter Duke is also an outfielder, Bon is an infielder and Logan Wood, another player up from the jayvee, can play anywhere.

“Our record (16-5) from last year will be hard to duplicate, but if the guys are willing to put in the work, so who knows?” said Smith.

SOFTBALL

The LB softball team will have a new look this year with seven freshmen on the team, which is half of the 14-girl roster. Newcomers Maegan Barnes, Leah Carlton, Kloe Bacon, Lauren Hoffman, Meredith Wells, Maia Folk and Emma Tyler are all expected to contribute.

Coach Cheryl Shockley has five seniors and two juniors on the roster. Senior Kaitlyn Deeter, an outfielder, has committed to Randolph-Macon while junior outfielder Hannah Mundy has made a verbal commitment to Longwood University. Both received Blue Ridge District and Conference 31 honors last year, as did junior outfielder Emma Layman.

Other seniors on the team are Maranda Switzer, Mary-Hannah Jackson, LeeAnne Doyle and Tiffany Green.

BOYS SOCCER

The LB boys soccer team will open on March 15 with a home game against Alleghany. This year’s squad is comprised of four seniors, six juniors and eight sophomores. There are only seven returning upperclassmen on the 18-member roster.

Last weekend LB split two scrimmages in the Cave Spring Jamboree, falling to Salem, 1-0, but defeating Cave Spring, 1-0.

“Saturday proved what is to be expected for a younger team in the beginning of the season,” said coach Tim Wright. “We have a lot of work to do technically, tactically, and fitness wise. Our first regular season match is March 16 at William Byrd and I am looking forward to the time in between to prepare us for what should be one of our toughest Blue Ridge District match ups.”

Captains for this year’s team are seniors Cooper Johnson and Corey Hackett and junior Blake Myers.

GIRLS SOCCER

The LB girls soccer team has 13 returnees on the 16-member roster, including several first team all-conference and all-district player as the Cavaliers finished 17-1-1 last year.

First team All-Conference 31 from LB who return include Sara Bane and Hannah Bane at forward, Hannah Martin on defense and Alex Heck in the goal. Second teamers are Makenzie Collins and Heather Finley at forward, Madison Lantz at midfield and Alexis Borovich on defense. In addition, Sara Bane was named Conference 31 Player of the Year and LB coach Giuseppe D’Arpa was named Coach of the Year.

In the Blue Ridge District first teamers were Sara and Hannah Bane, Martin and Heck, and again Sara Bane was Player of the Year in the district and D’Arpa was Coach of the Year. Second teamers were Collins, Finley, Lantz, and Borovich, and all are back this season.

“The girls have been working hard in the off season, they are stronger and faster,” said D’Arpa. “We’re looking forward to the start of the season and to improve on last year’s season.”

BOYS TENNIS

Botetourt will have quite a few returners this year, many including many who spent lots of time in the off season competing in USTA tournaments and taking lessons.

The top LB returnees are Noah Bryant, Caleb Beckner, Matt Manos, Ryan Gathje, and Tucker Grimshaw. Jake Bryant and Liam McCaul are also returnees who should be making an early-season impact.

“This lineup is bound to change as we have many other returners and several new players as well who are showing very promising skill,” said coach Peter Walton. “Our roster is 18 deep this season, which poses some challenges as far as court space is concerned. We just want to make sure those who are excited and want to play are given that opportunity.”

The Cavaliers will scrimmage Salem at Hollins University on Thursday of this week, then open Monday at Northside.

GIRLS TENNIS

The LB girls have a new coach as Kim Tyson takes over the team.

“I am excited to be coaching this team for the first time,” said Tyson, who has 19 girls on this year’s team. Tyson divided the large team into two groups, “Radicals” and “Upstarts.”

“The Radicals are the returning players and those that have played tennis before,” she said. “I have three returning seniors in the Radicals, who with Marina Wray include our two top players, Abby Pearl and Reagan Bullins.

“The Upstarts are those who wished to come out and learn more about tennis, and I will be grooming them for the seasons ahead. If. However, an Upstart progresses to the point they are comfortable, they will be able to challenge a Radical for a place in the starting lineup this season.”

LB will scrimmage at Salem on Thursday of this week, then open at home Monday with Northside.

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