Last year was a rough one for the Georges Valley High School girls tennis program. After a full slate of matches, the Buccaneers were unable to notch a win. This year, coach Maynard “Bud” Philbrook hopes his 13th season guiding a Buc tennis squad will be more positive.

“I think I’ve got a pretty good team,” he said. “I’m just hoping that, through steady play and competition, when it gets midseason that they are going to be as good as they are going to get and hopefully they are going to win a match or two.”

The Bucs have plenty of young athletes on their 21-player team.

This squad includes junior Rosemary McGeady (she will play second singles); sophomores Kasie Waters (first singles), Lindsey Joyce (third singles), Brianna Bodman (first doubles), Mikhaela Garret (first doubles), Erikha Tardiff (second doubles), Amelia Reinhardt (second doubles), Bethany Schulberg, Lizzy Lombardo, Alyssa Jones, Megan Rickard, Afton Hupper, Dora Thompson, Rachel Delfrate and Kendra Finnegan; and freshmen Olivia Stone, Olivia Cole, Reagan Goulet, Seimma Barstow, Lyric Deprey and Katlyn Clark.

The team lost Adrianna Lombardo, Emma Vachon, Meredith Joyce, Amber Weaver, Casie Weaver, Gabi Poor and Chelsea Philbrook to graduation.

Coach Philbrook said he sees both team and individual strengths this year.

“There is more of a team strength because most of them played together last year,” he said. “They are a bunch that get along together so they can play good together and I expect to do pretty good in the singles this year because Kasie is playing pretty good tennis and Rosemary is playing real good tennis.”

The veteran coach went on to say that Waters is a tough opponent.

“Kasie Waters is just a grinder,” Philbrook said. “I mean, she will go after everything. She doesn’t give up on any points so she is going to be tough for even the good players to beat because she is going to stay right there and grind it out.”

McGeady, on the other hand, is a big hitter. “She has got a good serve and she hits a good, fast ball so she is going to be tough,” he said.

Coach Philbrook said McGeady did not play last year, but as a freshmen she had exhibition and doubles experience. However, now she has moved up the ladder.

He also noted that Joyce’s competitive nature should keep her in the game.

The Bucs certainly need improvement but that is mostly because of their limited experience.

“We have to improve on everything, I mean all facets of the game,” coach Philbrook said. “They just have to play a lot of tennis and get some experience.”

That may be good for next year, when they combine with Rockland to form Oceanside High School, but it will make it difficult this season.

Looking to the near future the coach wants to give all his players time on the court.

“I try to play everybody in a regular match at least once,” he said. “I think they get on the team to play tennis and compete and if they get stuck just playing exhibition all the time they know that doesn’t mean anything towards winning or losing. So that’s why I like to get them in a regular match at least once.”

He wants to do that through the second doubles spot, where he can change the players.

However, coach Philbrook said he thinks this season will be similar to last year because of challenging Mountain Valley Conference foes. Teams such Boothbay Region and Winthrop, both of which have feeder programs, will be a challenge.

“They have kids on the program that have been playing since they were [small children]. This area just doesn’t have that,” he said. “Those kinds of schools are going to be tough for us. We play other schools way up country, [Mountain Valley of] Rumford, which we could beat because they were more or less in the same category we are.”

Even so, the coach has a positive outlook for the season. He has faith in his young athletes and their ability to tough out the season.

“They want to play and they want to compete and they want to win,” he said. “Of course, everybody wants to win. Mainly they want to play.”

In the end, the coach simply wants them to do their best.

“My goals are the same about every year,” he said. “Everybody do their best and whatever will be will be. If everybody plays as hard as they can play, compete as hard as they can play and they do it together they will come out all right one way or another.”

Village NetMedia Sports Reporter Frederick Freudenberger can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email at fritz@villagesoup.com.