The St. Luke's School's girls tennis team brings back all but one player from last year's squad, which placed third in the Fairchester Athletic Association.

Of course, that one player happens to be top singles standout Megan Douglass, who was largely astounding and lost just once during her St. Luke's career.

Nonetheless, given all of the returning talent throughout the lineup, hopes are high for a successful spring in the eyes of head coach Brinley Ehlers, whose team posted a 7-2 (5-2 in the FAA) record.

"I'd like to be able to match last year," the coach said. "I'm hoping that we're going to have as good of a record -- if not better."

Wins against this club are not easy to come by; Convent of the Sacred Heart and Greenwich Academy were the only teams to defeat St. Luke's in 2009. Ehlers noted that both matches were competitive and she expects similarly close competitions between the FAA rivals again in 2010. It's become the norm in the conference, which was once very top-heavy.

"We're really deeper than we have been. I feel like my second and third doubles teams are going to be competitive," Ehlers added.

Ehlers said she has always been able to count on her singles players, and now she will be able to count on the doubles tandems to win on a regular basis since all of the players are returnees.

This year's captains are top two singles players: junior Katherine Pettee at No. 1 singles, and senior Maggie Seaver at No. 2. Pettee, who played in the No. 2 position last season, has not lost in her career. She played against top-notch competition as a freshman and has continued to ascend since then.

Freshman Lindsey Conley, who filled a hole in the doubles lineup as an eighth-grader last year, joins the singles rotation and will start the year as the No. 3 player. Conley is ranked in the top 20 in New England in her age group, Ehlers said.

Sophomore Kelly Seaver, who joins the team after playing lacrosse a year ago, steps into the No. 4 singles slot. If she can perform above expectations, St. Luke's could be dangerous and deep in its singles arsenal.

The No. 1 doubles team is comprised of twins and younger sisters of Megan Douglass, juniors Alison and Lauren Douglass. Alison, who has an FAA doubles title under her belt, is joined by her twin, who had played singles. The legacy lives on, indeed.

The second doubles pairing is made up of sophomore Charlotte Seiler and junior Lily Robinson. The No. 3 tandem is comprised of senior Brenda Meany and sophomore Greta Joung. Senior Amanda Ackerman, who played as a freshman before pursuing other school-related activities, rejoins the team and should factor into the doubles lineup during the course of the year, Ehlers anticipates.

Ehlers has the goal of doing as well as -- or better than -- last year, but the coach adds that she wants to see the team improve during the course of the year. The third FAA match of the year is against Greenwich Academy and that match -- win or lose -- will serve as a good barometer for St. Luke's.

"That's the one that really tells me what my team is and how it's going to go," Ehlers said.

The season started with a 4-3 win over Hopkins in a non-FAA match this past week, and St. Luke's will strive to keep up those winning ways as the FAA matches get underway.

"I think our team can do pretty well in the FAAs," Pettee said last week after a team practice.