Tennis preview: Raiders bring back top 10 players for 2009 teamThis year’s Hastings High School girls tennis team will look a lot like last year’s. And that’s a good thing. All 10 of Hastings’ top players from last fall’s very competitive team return this year.
By: Chad Richardson, The Hastings Star-Gazette
This year’s Hastings High School girls tennis team will look a lot like last year’s. And that’s a good thing.
All 10 of Hastings’ top players from last fall’s very competitive team return this year.
“They were good last year, and we have another year of experience,” Hastings coach Craig Raway said. “It’s going to be fun. Everyone worked really hard this summer to be sure we have a good year. The captains were instrumental in making sure everyone played during the summer.”
Last year’s team advanced in the section tournament before falling to Rochester Mayo in the quarterfinals. The Raiders fared well in the regular season, too, losing just four matches, three of which were as close as they come at 4-3.
“All those matches, we should have had,” Raway said. “I really felt like we played well, we just came up a little short. This year I think we can definitely win all three of those matches. We can definitely have a strong finish.”
The key to the season, Raway said, is having the team at its best against the best competition.
“We’re going to have to play our best against the best competition,” he said. “Last year we came up a couple points short in a few matches. We had a couple off matches. You just have to put that up to youth and not understanding we had to be focused on every point.
“The girls are another year in. They know what to expect. They’re going to be ready for it.”
Captains for this year are Shanna Burgmeier, Lindsey Reinisch and Kirsten Peterson.
Burgmeier played first singles for the Raiders last year. She’ll likely see a fair amount of time there again this fall.
“She put in a lot of work this year,” Raway said. “Hopefully she’ll finish up much stronger this year than she did last year, record-wise. We think she’ll have a good year.”
Reinisch played second singles for much of last year. She did get some time at first singles, and will probably move between the two spots again this year.
“She will see quite a bit of time at first singles,” Raway said. “She has a lot of career wins for us. She’ll have another year this year where she will win a lot of matches.”
Peterson played at first doubles last year with Erika Nielsen. She’ll play some doubles and will also have some time at singles for the Raiders.
“She’s just so tough,” Raway said. “Being a lefty definitely helps out.”
Gina Dabruzzi is a senior who will play doubles this year. She played a lot at second doubles last fall.
Beth Ventry is another senior who may see some varsity time, too.
Hastings has its No. 3 and No. 4 singles players from last year returning, too. They are Morgan Tjomsland and Hailey Lundquist.
Doubles players with experience are Nielsen, Ashley Addison, Jessica Wassink and Hannah Carlson.
Caitlyn Judge will likely also see time on varsity.
With all that returning experience, Raway has set some lofty goals for the Raiders. Mounds View is the team to beat in the conference again, and Cretin-Derham Hall is going to be good as well. Raway wants the Raiders right up there, too.
“I think this squad can have a better overall record than last year’s team did, and hopefully we can advance to the section semis or section finals,” he said. “
Getting off to a fast start will be key, as the Raiders open play with several section opponents over the first few weeks of the season.
“We don’t have much of a chance to ease into the season,” Raway said. “Most of our section matches are played within the first two weeks. We’ll have a lot of seeding stuff determined in our first 10 matches, essentially.”