Tennis preview: Winning the close matches is Raiders' goal
Last year's Hastings girls tennis team finished with a strong 5-4 record in the Suburban East Conference season. Among those losses were a number of agonizingly close 4-3 losses, including one to Roseville, one to Forest Lake and one to Stillwater.
That leaves head coach Craig Raway with a simple goal this season - be on the other side of those 4-3 matches.
"If we could turn a couple of those around this year, that'd be great," he said. "We're younger this year - we lost a few seniors - but we return enough experience. We should be able to shake out somewhere in the top three or four teams in the conference."
Hastings has five captains this year, and all five are seniors.
Hailey Lundquist leads the list. She played at first singles for most of last season and will see her share of matches toward the top of the singles lineup again this year.
Morgan Tjomsland had a very successful season at second singles last year. She'll play at either one of the top spots again this year, or at a high doubles spot.
Hannah Carlson, Abbie Williams and Caitlyn Judge are also captains. Expect to see each of them have an important role in doubles play.
Three sophomores return with varsity experience. They are Maddie Carlson, Jill Weinzettel and Annika Peterson.
Weinzettel and Peterson have teamed up to make a strong No. 1 doubles team so far this season.
Carlson has played primarily at the No. 3 singles spot. Fellow sophomores Baily Alter and Anna Foster are also on varsity.
Sammy Dabruzzi, Katie Roach and Lauren Mattmiller, all freshmen, have earned spots on the varsity, too.
Foreign exchange student Katerina Suchmova is a strong singles player and should be able to earn a spot toward the top of the lineup.
Raway expects to see Stillwater at the top of the Suburban East Conference standings at the end of the season. Mounds View and Forest Lake should also be among the top teams.
In the section, Rochester Mayo is the hands-down favorite. They are ranked No. 3 in the state.
Rochester Century is ranked No. 4.