Front row (l-r): Emily Johnson, Kallie Smith, Marlayna Evers, Becky Roiger, Alex Chaney, Katelyn Johnson. Middle row (l-r): Lauren Laffen, Erika Ries, Tayler Hoffman, Kacie Goblirsch, Caitlin Lang. Back row (l-r): Kalyn Haas, Carissa Evers, Ashley Johnson, Natalie Stevens, Sara Haugo. Missing: Alyssa Rubey
Coaches: Bradd Goede (14th year as head coach), Jordan Rathman, Peggy Larson
Record Last Season: 6-11 (lost in Section 3A quarterfinals to section runners-up Fairmont)
Players lost to graduation: Aileen Roman (16-7, including 14-4 at #1 doubles, G-V Conference Champ at #1 doubles), Amber Ness (#4 singles), Larissa Krebs (#2 doubles), Rebecca Hinderman (#3 singles/#2 doubles)
Seniors: Kallie Smith (8-14 last year, mostly at #2 singles), Emily Johnson (16-7 last year, mostly at #1 doubles, G-V Conference Champ at #1 doubles), Becky Roiger (6-18 last year, mostly at #1 singles), Marlayna Evers (4-10 last year, mostly at #3 doubles), Alex Chaney (played JV last season), Katelyn Johnson (played JV last season). This is a good group of seniors, led by Kallie, Emily and Becky who have multiple years of varsity experience. All six will see time on the varsity roster at some point throughout the season.
Sophomores: Erika Ries (6-10 last year, #4 singles/#3 doubles), Caitlin Lang (JV last year), Carissa Evers (JV last year), Ashley Johnson (JV last year), Tayler Hoffman (JV last year), Kacie Goblirsch (JV last year). Erika is the only player out of this class to see varsity action last year and did a commendable job in the lower positions and will bring back some experience. Even though the others didn’t see any varsity action last season, most had very good JV records.
Freshmen: Lauren Laffen (9-14 last year, mostly at #2 doubles), Kalyn Haas (8-14 last year, #4 singles/#2 doubles), Alyssa Rubey, Natalie Stevens, Sara Haugo. This is a very athletic class with a good tennis IQ. Lauren and Kalyn finished last season fairly strong and we are expecting 3 or 4 from this class to see significant varsity playing time this season.
Season overview – I feel that this team was really being built last year knowing that many would be back. Eight are returning with some varsity experience, including 6 of our top 8 from last year. Experience is invaluable. Most of the girls put in a lot of time over the summer at the courts or at camp and if our first week of practice is any indication, we’ll be a much better team in terms of fundamentals and skills. I think the top of both our singles and doubles lineup will be very competitive with just about every team we play against. Where are early season questions lie will mainly be in doubles and low singles. Most of our graduation losses were from somewhere in the doubles positions. That means we’ll be working with some new combinations and some players who will be pretty green early on. In terms of wins and losses, it’s so hard to say as we are year-in and year-out in maybe the deepest pool of talent for a section as there is anywhere in the state. We play St. James twice (currently #2 in the pre-season rankings) and Rochester Lourdes (currently #7 in the pre-season rankings), including seeing both of them in the same tournament in September. Are we capable of getting back above that .500 mark? Without a doubt we have the talent and experience to do that. At the same time, there aren’t any guaranteed wins anywhere on our schedule. We’ll have to bring our best every time we step on the courts.
Without hesitation, in Section 3A it’s St. James again. They bring back experienced players from another state tournament team and are just a yearly powerhouse in all of southern Minnesota. For our 2nd season in the Gopher-Valley Conference I’d say it’ll be wide open. All four teams were so balanced last year and I don’t see that to be a whole lot different this year. I’d like to think that with so many experienced players back that we can make a run at things in the conference.
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