By Chris Chaney
The Clermont Northeastern girls’ tennis program is on the move and it’s not looking back. Head coach Liz Benjamin has a divide in age among her team, but the well-bonded group is in search of some late-season magic to secure a runner-up finish in the Southern Buckeye Conference’s National Division, which may help to build the program even more over the offseason.
“We’ve done pretty well (up to this point),” Benjamin said. “We have four seniors and four freshmen with a couple of juniors mixed in there. We have two more matches, against Batavia and Felicity to determine who comes in second.”
The Lady Rockets have made some of their hay this year with wins over Felicity, but the grudge match on Monday, Sept. 23 against Batavia was the one that would determine who would claim second place in the league.
To get to that point, Benjamin’s squad has had some pretty good play throughout the lineup.
Senior Brittney Woermann has given the Lady Rockets a first singles player that has played well all season, giving them the opportunity to find two other courts for a team win.
Another strong court has been the Lady Rockets’ first doubles duo that is anchored by Celeana Lambing.
“Celeana has been undefeated this year,” Benjamin said of her senior. “Sometimes I switch around her partners, but when Celeana plays, first doubles is undefeated.”
Benjamin has used some of her freshmen as well as fellow seniors with Lambing in order to try and find the best possible pairing for the upcoming district tournament, going as far as to put Woermann on the court with Lambing recently.
Seniors round out the singles courts with Lauren McHenry and Lindsey Hunt usually playing solo matches. Benjamin said both have been competitive this season.
The second doubles team is a fluid spot in CNE’s lineup with various freshman and juniors mixing in and out depending on the day in order to try and find a good fit, while also getting some younger players some experience.
Inside the SBC, Blanchester is the toast of the league, going undefeated thus far. The race for second place, however, has not been so cut and dry.
“It’s between us and Batavia to get second,” Benjamin explained. “I told the girls if they get runner-up I would get them shirts, so hopefully I can do that.”
The Lady Rockets picked up another win over Felicity last week, 4-1, but lost to Batavia 4-1. The best hope for Benjamin’s Lady Rockets is a share of second place dependant upon a rematch with Batavia.
With sectionals right around the corner, Benjamin will look to use the next two weeks to solidify a lineup with the hopes that her first doubles team can win a match or two and maybe advance.
The Lady Rockets will compete in the sectional at Mason High School on Oct. 3 and 5th.