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Girls' Tennis: Raiders ready to take the next step

Welch demonstrates a singles drill. She said that the four singles spots are up for grabs this season. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 4
Anri Sakakibara is one of many young players who saw significant varsity time last year. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 4
The Raiders started their season 1-2 with a win over Virginia and losses to Duluth East and Simley. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 4
Players from all levels listen as head coach Marissa Welch explains the plan for the rest of practice. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia4 / 4

The Hastings girls' tennis team returns several experienced players from last season where they won their first-round section team match. Head coach Marissa Welch said that her team has renewed its focus this year in hopes of going even farther.

"The girls looked pretty good and competitive (last season)," she said. "I don't know if they maybe realized that, but we were really, really close to winning our second round of sections against Owatonna. We filled out those purpose and goal sheets and I was looking through them and they kind of figured that out too. They want to get through another round of sections and be successful as individuals. I think that competitive edge carried over for sure."

There are eight returners from last year and Welch said the singles spots are a clean slate this season. Those returning who saw significant time last year are Emily Beyer, Elizabeth Henrichs, Morgan Reinardy, Amy Roach, Erika Henrichs, Anna Lindner, Alexandra Doughty and Anri Sakakibara. Beyer, Elizabeth Henrichs and Anna Lindner are this year's captains.

Welch said that she is also really trying to continue to improve the culture of the program so that the girls not only succeed but love tennis as well. The purpose and goal sheets she mentioned were filled out by all levels and are part of the efforts by all Hastings coaches to have their programs moving in concert and the right direction.

The Raiders started competition the weekend of Aug. 18-19 with three matches against Duluth East, Virginia and Simley. They fell to Duluth East and Simley, 4-3, and beat Virginia, 4-3. The singles spots were rotated, with Beyer going 0-2 in singles and 1-0 in doubles with Sakakibara. Roach went 1-2 in singles and 1-0 with Elizabeth Henrichs in doubles, while Sakakibara also won her two singles matches. Elizabeth Henrichs also went 2-0 in singles. Charlotte Kranz, Doughty, Audrey Langworthy and Lauren Jelley were swept in singles against Simley, but had mixed success in doubles play.

Hastings starts Metro East Conference play Sept. 6 against Tartan and sections start in early October.

Alec Hamilton

Alec Hamilton is a RiverTown Multimedia sports reporter covering Hastings, Farmington and Rosemount athletics. He graduated from Drake University with a journalism degree in 2014. 

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