Girls tennis preview

Andover

Third-year coach Eric Bertram added former Anoka standout and Gustavus Adolphus tennis player Grant Leisner to the coaching ranks of a team coming off an 8-2 record in the Northwest Suburban Conference, 15-7 overall. The team lost to Princeton in the second round of sections, but qualified the doubles team of seniors Amanda Holstad and Ali May Kuebelbeck for state. The Huskies will be a young and inexperienced group, so look for captains Sophie Siebur, Grace Bergquist and Anna Belschner to guide the team with their play on the court.

“Depending on how quickly we can learn Andover tennis, there is great potential for this team,” Bertram said.

Siebur earned all-conference honors in her second season of playing tennis.

Anoka

Last season was the start of a new chapter of Anoka tennis where Lance Wicks returned to the program after leaving the program in the late 90s after winning mulitple conference titles to focus on an administrative role in the district and a young and growing family.

His returned to the courts provided immediate dividends with a .500 record but the challenge coming into the fall is to find eight players to replace those graduated last fall.

This year the team grew to 55 players for 10 varsity roster spots between singles and doubles.

“Word got out that we’re a friendly group and I have three very good assistant (coaches). We asked the one-sport kids to come out and give it a try and we had 5-6 of them come out and of course their friends joined them,” Wicks said about helping grow his third Anoka program. “I saw the program go through five coaches and none of them (taught at Anoka High School). Now I’m in the building and get to see the kids every day. We’re doing the same thing we did 15 years ago.

“I felt the kids needed some positive direction and this is what I enjoy to do.”

He has coached in the Anoka football, baseball and basketball programs.

Sophomores Haidyn Andrea and Alyssa Wicks will hold the top singles positions to start the season. “Both are talented kids but play different styles,” Coach Wicks said. “(Andrea) put in the hours in the summer and (Wicks) is a grinder that finds a way to win.”

Mikayla Weilshire will be a third sophomore in the singles line up.

Sophomore Olivia Sherva will compete in doubles along with senior captains Allie Rein and Nina Anderson.

Anoka opened the season at the Totino-Grace Invite in Fridley August 16.

Blaine

Coming off a 4-12 season, Blaine looks to turn its fortunes around, starting with two seniors at the top of the sheet. Sarah Pohto is in line for her fourth varsity season and Abby Merck’s third season with the top Bengals team. Both will serve as captains along with Maryssa Trokjak.

Coach Jeff Fedor said the eight players with varsity experience will help generate competition for playing spots across singles and doubles.

Coon Rapids

The Cardinals are coming off a very successful 21-4 record in 2013 that earned them a share of the Northwest Suburban Conference championship. Coon Rapids graduated four major contributors, so there is room for new players to step in. Senior Heidi Hannula went to state with now graduated Emily Bauer. Allison Bauer and Tina McManus are the two other captains. Coach Scott Storrick began his 15th season on the coaching staff with the annual Cardinals Invite, Aug. 16. This year Coon Rapids hosted Rogers, Hibbing and Cretin-Derham Hall.

Look for Helen Nelson, Maddi Glorgi, Hannah Neagele, Andrea Rehm, Sara McDonald and Julie Mortenson to provide plenty of depth along the lineup to give Storrick a chance to strategically match lineups.

“We are going to be extremely deep with a lot of interchangeable parts – meaning girls who can play singles and doubles,” he said.

Spring Lake Park

The Panthers have eight seniors on the roster with four sophomores and one ninth-grader in what will be a young lineup.

Sophomores Mallory Corrigan and Caitlyn Jones have secured the No. 1 and 3 singles positions along with an all-sophomore duo in the No. 2 slot of Rae Johannessen and Lina Maurice.

The season began with a 6-1 loss against perennial powerhouse Mounds View Aug. 15. Three of the losses were in the third set, giving coach Mark Fierst a positive sign in the opener with the lone win coming from senior captain Betanya Zewde at No. 2 singles.

St. Francis

The Saints return three varsity players from last fall, including two singles standouts in senior Kristin Hane and junior Paige Swanson and one-half of the top doubles team in senior Megan Deans.

Deans, Hane and Alexandria Hillesheim will captain the team with many openings across the lineup and a number of players competing for those roles.

“Practice has been lively and competitive as we strive to produce competitive players that display enormous effort and sportsmanship,” coach Joe Fredrickson said, entering his 16th season leading the Saints.

Jason Olson is at
jason.olson@ecm-inc.com

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