The Notre Dame tennis program and head coach Raul Fernandez had high expectations for the 2020 tennis season. The boys’ team, coming off of a Division II-A final four appearance last season, returned one senior in Bernard Lisy, the defending district champion. There were two seniors leading the way for the Lady Irish, Anna Qualey and Elizabeth Lenhart, as Fernandez felt this squad had a chance to be district champions.
Lisy is the returning No.
1 seed for the Fighting Irish, and also team captain. Having lost five senior boys from the top of a team that came so close to winning a state championship in 2019, Lisy is a key player on this year’s squad. Even with the loss of such a strong group of seniors, Fernandez felt that they are one of the top two teams in the district. Lisy was set to play singles in the individual district tournament, and Fernandez felt that he would be would be favored to win the district for a second consecutive year.
Like Lisy, Qualey was also her team’s returning No. 1 seed and team captain. With Chattanooga Christian heading to Division II-AA, Fernandez felt that his girls would be the favorites to win the district, and Qualey would be a huge piece of that puzzle. Her consistent play makes her one of the top two singles players in the district, and Fernandez was planning to pair her with one of the younger girls in the second-seeded doubles spot, where he felt she could run the table in district play.
Lenhart is in her fourth year on the tennis team, and when she joined the squad as a freshman she was brand new to tennis. Fernandez said that over those four years, her game had improved tremendously. She was sitting just outside the top six on the Lady Irish team, but Fernandez said that really said more about the depth and quality of players ahead of her than her tennis-playing ability. He felt that she would be in the top six of nearly every other team in the district, and possibly in the Chattanooga area.
The Chattanoogan Senior Spotlight series highlights local prep seniors whose seasons have been put on hold due to the unprecedented situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are associated with a high school spring sports team and would like your seniors featured, please encourage the coach to reach out to me at email@example.com. Also, share this article and others like it from this series on social media using #ChattanooganSeniorSpotlight.