Erin Feldhaus, the Gorham High girls’ tennis coach, still calls her predecessor “Mrs. Frey.”

And why not? For 25 years Sonja Frey not only coached the girls in high school, but also started and ran the town’s popular recreational program. In fact, that’s where 7-year-old Erin O’Brien first grabbed a racquet, which led her to play for Frey at Gorham and later at the University of Southern Maine before getting married, starting a family and, last year, returning as Frey’s assistant.

“It’s weird not to have her here this year,” Feldhaus said. “She’s such a tennis figure in the community, between the rec program and all the coaching, that it’s definitely different not having her there.”

Even so, Feldhaus said she speaks regularly with Frey, now retired and living in Missouri, and uses many of her reference materials. Only one player is back from last year’s starting lineup — a team that reached the Western Class A final before losing to Scarborough.

Senior Emily Estes, who played second doubles last spring, is now playing No. 1 singles. She’s the only tie to the 2010 squad that reached the state final before losing to Lewiston.

“There doesn’t seem to be as much pressure, if that’s the word,” said Feldhaus, who has 16 other girls on varsity and about a dozen on JV. “We’re definitely a young team and we’re working to rebuild.”

The Rams are scheduled to open their season this afternoon at Massabesic High. Feldhaus, who worked in banking before the birth of her now 2-year-old son, is expecting another child in late May. So Gorham may well have another coach in early June, assistant Nicole Bergeron, mother of former Gorham standout Aaron Bergeron, a 2008 graduate.

“She loves the game and she’s always played,” Feldhaus said. “I’m so thankful to have her. She helps with practices and matches, and when I have to step back, she’ll step up.”

After that, will another quarter century pass before Gorham makes another coaching transition?

“I don’t know,” she said. “I will (coach) as long as I can. I’m having fun with it.”

WHILE THE GORHAM girls will be hard-pressed to match their 12-3 record from a year ago, the Gorham boys are looking to improve on a 7-5 mark. Six of seven starters return, all of them juniors, with Kyle Curley (12-1 at No. 2 singles last spring) leading the way.

Classmate Ryan Gilbert, who recovered from a broken arm to play the final few matches of the season, is healthy and solidly entrenched in the second singles spot. The lone non-junior starter is freshman Tom Susi, who pairs with Mike Lubelczyk at first doubles.

CONGRATULATIONS TO Falmouth eighth-grader Meghan Kelley, who knocked off two seeded players and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Girls 16 Easter Bowl tournament — her best showing at a USTA Super National event — earlier this month in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Kelley is young enough to play in the age 14 division, but elected to play against tougher competition and wound up beating the fourth and 17th seeds, boosting her national ranking to 65th in the 16-and-under division and 21st in 14-and-under.

Her next big tournament comes in May in Oklahoma. Her summer plans include playing on New England teams as well as in individual national-level events in at least seven different states.

BONNY EAGLE senior Tyler Adams has yet to drop a set in three years of Southern Maine Activities Association action. Coach Hossein Miremadi looks for Adams to advance beyond the singles quarterfinals, where he’s been twice. “He’s definitely going to contend,” Miremadi said. “The mental piece of his game is finally there.”

The four top singles seeds are likely to be Patrick Ordway of Waynflete, Justin Brogan of Falmouth, Jordan Friedland of Lincoln Academy and Matt Gilman of Cape Elizabeth. …

Waynflete’s No. 1 singles player for the past two years, Kaitlynn Thompson, is now a junior at St. Dominic in Auburn. Former teammates say Libby Voccola, who transferred from Falmouth to a New Hampshire prep school for her junior year, is likely to return to Maine for her senior year. If Scarborough senior Kasia Jania, currently out with a wrist injury, is able to play at all this spring for the Red Storm, new coach Steve Eddy will consider it a bonus. “I don’t want to do anything that gets her messed up for college,” Eddy said. “I’m looking more for the other girls to step up.”

Jania, the state singles runner-up as a freshman, plans to play for the University of Pennsylvania.

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH