17 August 2013

Girls Tennis: Hopes running high in Tiger camp

MVP Megan Stivers returns at No. 1 singles
With three of the top four players in the singles lineup returning and some interesting doubles possibilities in the making, hopes are running high in the Tigers' pre-season camp.

"We're obviously hoping to improve on last year's win total (5) and to climb a couple of spots in the conference," Olwell said.

"The problem with Section 1AA is that unless you move up significantly, your first round opponent will be a state-ranked team and that usually doesn't bode well for the lower seeded-team."

Based on early practices the singles lineup should feature senior MVP Megan Stivers at the top spot with freshman Ryan Jara holding down the second position. Sophomore Jessie Novotny will start at third singles with sophomore Callie Olmscheid holding down the fourth slot.

The Fairchild twins, sophomores Beth and Lindsey, have been solid in pre-season practices and appear locked in at the No. 1 doubles position. Sophomore Molly Rudorfer, who played singles last season, is moving to doubles where she will likely pair with junior Kaya Rees at No. 2.

The tandem of Hannah Toomey and Sam Gallagher and the duo of Becky Genzler and Alyson Kelly round out the likely doubles lineup.

Molly Rudorfer moving from singles to doubles
Veterans Emily Lathrop, Jordan Smith and Bridget Lensing along with three freshmen, Lizzy Sanders, Olynka Verduzco and Anna Houseal, could also see varsity court time this fall.

"This is the most experienced we have been for some time," Olwell said. "Our singles line-up had a solid record last year and should improve on that...We have new pairings at all three doubles positions so there may be a learning curve as the players learn each other's tendencies. Most are at a higher position than before so getting used to tougher competition could be an issue."

Olwell said perennial powers Shakopee, Northfield and Chanhassen should continue to be the teams to beat in the final year of the Missota Conference. The Rochester schools and Winona lead the field in powerful Section 1AA.

Joe "Doc" Emond returns as Olwell's varsity assistant coach. Brian Engebretson and Jeff Engebretson will work with the middle school program..

"We have a great group who have high expectations and who are putting in the work," Olwell concluded. "I can hardly wait for the season to start."

Olwell doesn't have long to wait as the Tigers open the 2013 campaign Monday, Aug 19, with their annual appearance at the Mound Doubles Invitational.

Ryan Jara set at the No. 2 singles position