Maggie Rudorfer (below) and Meghan Lindstron
return at 1st and 2nd singles
The 2010 edition of the Tiger girls tennis didn't win a dual meet and finished at the bottom of the Missota Conference standings...but that doesn't mean there is a lack of optimism in the FHS camp this fall.
Veteran coach Jack Olwell returns his entire singles lineup as well as three veteran doubles players and is looking for a major reversal of fortunes in 2011.
"We had some tantalizingly close matches last year and we are older and wiser now," Olwell said. "We have veterans at all of the singles slots and it looks like we have lots of younger players who are taking the game seriously.
"The success of our season will be decided in large part by what takes place in practice and what has been done over the past 10 months. It's tough to give our opponents a head start and then hope to catch them."
The returning singles lineup includes seniors Maggie Rudorfer and Meghan Lindstrom at the first and second positions and junior Melanie Kappes and sophomore Megan Stivers at the third and fourth slots.
"At least that's the way it looks right now," Olwell said.
Senior Katie Burgess played first doubles last fall and seniors Rachel Molitor and Jessica Autey started at third doubles to give Olwell some much needed experience on this season's doubles ladder.
Others expected to compete for varsity court time include juniors Rachel Rees, Jennifer Ouyang, Tasha Sinha and ShyAnne Spurzem.
Olwell, in his 30th season coaching tennis at FHS, offered that defending champion Shakopee appears the team to beat in the Missota Conference race with Red Wing, Chanhassen and Holy Angels all expected to field strong teams. State powerhouses Rochester Century and Rochester Mayo wear the favorite tags in Section 1AA.
"Some of those teams may be out of our reach," Olwell said, "but we are intending to close the gap."
Joe "Doc" Emond, one of the state's top singles players in his age division, returns as assistant coach with Brian Engebretson set to handle the middle school coaching duties.
The Tigers open their fall season, Monday, Aug. 22, with their annual trip to the Mound Doubles Invitational.