It's on to Plan B for the La Cañada High girls' tennis tennis team.
Plan A was to rely on senior Rachel Fox to be the team's star singles player and let things fall into place from there. That plan has been scratched, however.
The Spartans are going to have to march on through the 2010 season without their "ace in the hole," as Coach Will Moravec had described her.
Fox was ranked nationally when she led the Spartans to second place in Rio Hondo League in 2008, a year in which she placed third in the CIF singles tournament.
Moravec expected her to return as the team's best singles player after sitting out last season with an injury. But she decided not to join the team for her senior year because her schedule was full with school and other extracurricular activities, Moravec said.
Although Fox's departure is a heavy blow, La Cañada won't be waving a white flag.
"The girls are still positive, they aren't distracted, and nobody is saying our season is over by any means; so we're just going ahead from here," Moravec said. "Last year we did pretty good and hopefully these girls will continue that."
When the Spartans played without Fox in 2009, they finished third in Rio Hondo and advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division III playoffs, losing to Valencia, 12-6, in the first round.
"We lose one player and move another up from where they were normally a sub and now they're a starter," Moravec said. "It just means the girls will have to play a lot more tennis and make sure they are ready when they step on the court."
Doubles play is where the Spartans will look to replace Fox's production, Moravec said. Good news for La Cañada is a dominant doubles team has already emerged in the form of senior captain Missy Antonopolis and sophomore Sydney Fichel. In the duo's first four competitions of the season, the pair has gone 10-2.
"You still want the kids to individually perform at their best, and that's what we're going to do," Moravec said. "If everyone does their job and improves, we should have a pretty good year."