Girls tennis: Cardinals' chemistry continues to persevere in win over Spuds
The Alexandria girls tennis team is heading into the postseason on the right track after beating Moorhead 5-2 on Tuesday afternoon. After sweeping all three doubles matches, the Cardinal's chemistry is peaking at the season's opportune time.
"We started well by winning Nos. 3 and 4 singles and Nos. 1 and 2 doubles," Alexandria head coach Dave Ronning said. "I think that was encouraging to get those right off the bat. I always want the kids to look around the courts at their teammates because that will lift you up too. Moorhead is a solid team. They split with Willmar, so getting that quick start was the key for us."
One of the first wins on the board came from Jaya Hatlestad in the No. 4 singles match. She beat her opponent 6-1, 6-1, and has settled into her role.
"I feel comfortable playing singles because I'm in the same spot I was in last year," Hatlestad said. "There's always adjustments you have to make for each opponent. I think what helped is we played some weaker teams at the start of the season that are rebuilding. We have confidence now when we are playing teams like Moorhead."
Hatlestad routinely picks up a point for the Cardinals. Because of Alexandria's depth, she is slotted in the fourth singles spot, even though she has the talent to play higher up on some other teams.
"We are really happy with Jaya's progress," Ronning said. "She's getting better every single match. Sarah (Jiang) too. She's never been blown out even in the ups and downs she's had. When they get beat, it's always a tough three sets. I'm really happy with our depth and what we have going on there."
Alexandria's top two doubles teams each have only one loss on the season. With only 11 regular season meets on the schedule, each pairing's instant connection has given them an edge.
"It's really fun to see because we didn't know what to expect," Ronning said. "Whitly (Netland) played No. 3 doubles last year and Kaylee (Svee) was playing singles. We didn't know if the chemistry was going to be there or not. Right from the get-go they had it. Same with Anna (Doherty) and MaKenna (Aure). They're such great athletes, and I encourage them to just fly around the court. They play hockey together, and I want them to play hockey out here."
Hatlestad believes the connections on the court comes from the leadership.
"We have a lot of seniors out here," Hatlestad said. "There's a lot of girls that have been playing since freshman year. I think it's shown how well this team works together even though we are on our own. We are always cheering each other on in between points. In practice, we know we can make each other better because we know everybody's potential."
With only one meet left before the conference tournament, Ronning thinks his girls can take another step forward.
"The sky's the limit with this team, and I really believe that," Ronning said. "When we go to Brainerd, that's going to tell us a lot. Whether we beat them or not, we just want to go there and compete really hard, so we get some momentum going into the conference tournament."
ALEXANDRIA 5, MOORHEAD 2
SINGLES- No.1 Katryna Hanson(M) def. Briana Holm 2-6, 6-2, 6-4; No. 2 Nicole Hoogland (M) def. Tabea Roggenbuck 6-2, 6-1; No. 3 Sarah Jiang (A) def. Elizabeth Glatt 6-1, 6-1; No. 4 Jaya hatlestad (A) def. N/A 6-1, 6-1; DOUBLES- No. 1 Kaylee Svee-Whitly Netland (A) def. Azylen Lunak-Bailey Overbo 6-2, 6-4; No. 2 Anna Doherty-MaKenna Aure (A) def. JOsie Palmer-Anna Kiser 6-1, 6-2; No. 3 Macie Tilleskjor-Grace Reed (A) def. Kylie Torkelson-Sophie Swenson 6-3, 6-2;