INDEPENDENCE -- Central's girls tennis team won its first district title in recent memory (and perhaps ever) last season, and sisters LeighAnne and Shannon MacCarthy finished second as a doubles team in the Class 4A state tournament.
LeighAnne MacCarthy returns for the Lady Panthers in 2008 along with Christine Bansen and Eden Olson. The other faces, though, are all new -- including first-year head coach Sarah MacCarthy.
"We're real young," said Sarah, who is the mother of LeighAnne and Shannon. "We graduated nine girls off last year's varsity team. Of the girls we took to the district tournament, only three of them are back. And Eden's in the play right now, so it will be a while before she comes out.
"We're rebuilding. There's lots of potential. We're just now trying to figure out the ladder and who can fill those positions for us. It's tough in first and second singles and doubles."
Initial plans call for LeighAnne MacCarthy to at least start the season playing singles.
"We're looking at her playing singles for the first half and maybe doubles for the second half," MacCarthy the coach said. "We've got to see where the best options are for getting to state and how the league works out."
The rest of the lineup remains a work in progress. But with 30 girls coming out, there at least is no shortage of numbers.
"We're just overwhelmed trying to figure out who will play first doubles and have the inner strength to play at that level and not get upset," MacCarthy said. "We have really good numbers. There's a lot of potential for growth in the kids we do have.
"But, experience-wise, we're very young. Even the seniors I have don't have a lot of experience. We're looking at our juniors and sophomores having to step up big time."