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Veteran Homestead girls tennis coach Jackie Egelhoff has been down this road before, so she's not going to read too much into it just yet.

But she and the youthful Highlanders have swept to three tournament titles, taking on all comers. They've also whitewashed Grafton, 7-0, in their North Shore Conference opener just for good measure.

In short, it looks like the second coming of that dominant run the Highlanders made where they won five straight WIAA state titles from 2008-2012.

But as noted, Egelhoff is not going to talk about such things just yet, especially with a team that has five freshmen and one key transfer in the lineup.

"It's an excellent start, but we've got a long road ahead of us yet," Egelhoff said. "It's very exciting, yes, but being inexperienced like this, you just don't know how everything will work out in the end, You don't know if people will break down mentally or physically. You just hope they continue to keep improving."

In the meantime, Egelhoff will continue to balance the old with the new in this lineup.

At the top of the singles lineup is senior state place winner Katya Mikhailenko, but trailing right behind her are three freshmen who own the other singles spots. They include Andie Weise, Natalie Yang and Jamie Gebhardt.

In doubles, junior state level transfer from Cedarburg, Frankie LaLonde, is paired up with freshman Sasha Shapsis, while the other varsity doubles teams include freshman Bridget Brown and junior Alyssa Boyer and junior Helen Watkins and sophomore Grace Crowley. Brown's family just moved to the Mequon area shortly before the school year started from New York.

Others who will find time this fall for the Highlanders include seniors Tricia Engel, Caroline Birmingham and Riley Trauttmann, along with junior Sasha Milbeck.

Egelhoff said the team is coming together well.

"A lot of the freshmen knew each other before they got here, and Frankie (LaLonde) was friends with Katya (Mikhailenko) and Alyssa (Boyer) before she got here," Egelhoff said. "The blending has gone very well."

The Highlanders, who will finally have a quiet weekend over the Labor Day holiday, most recently won the Brookfield Central Invite on Aug. 25 and 26, downing Green Bay Southwest (7-0), Waukesha South (7-0), Madison West (6-1) and Brookfield East (4-3) for the title despite the fact that LaLonde was out sick.

With an adjusted lineup, Yang won at second singles (6-0, 4-6, (10-4), and all three doubles teams swept, including Watkins and Crowley 6-4, 3-6 (10-8) in the finals against East.

Egelhoff noted that the road to another state title is long and said North Shore rival Nicolet with its powerful doubles teams is currently ranked second in the state behind the Highlanders. Homestead beat Nicolet in an earlier tournament. She also noted that Brookfield East will be difficult to beat all season long.

"We were glad that we got this good competition early," Egelhoff added. "We have young players who know how to work hard and improve."

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