The St. Peter Saints girls tennis team was edged out Sept. 5 in another tight team match.
Two days before, they lost 3-4 against Mankato East, coming down to No. 2 and 3 doubles with Saints No. 3 doubles falling short 7-5, 7-5. On Thursday against Waseca, the deciding match came down to No. 4 singles with Annika Southworth losing a close second match 6-3, 7-6 (5).
Coach Aaron Rothenberger reflected, “Waseca's doubles were very challenging for us today. They forced us to earn most of our points and they played consistently. I was very proud of Lizzy (Orth) and Emily (Salfer) at one doubles taking control of the game after losing the first set. They have stepped up their efforts and confidence after many slow starts this season. We need to improve on finishing points at the net and work on getting our second serve deeper.”
Orth and Salfer had the lone doubles win for the Saints. They defeated Morgan Bruhn and Hannah Potter 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.
In singles, Amelia Hildebrandt, No. 1 singles, and Oyku Celik, No. 3 singles, pulled out the other two team wins. Hildebrandt beat Taylor Pfeifer 6-2, 6-2. Celik had a close match win against Tanika Johnson 6-4, 7-5.
Rothenberger said that he was “impressed with Amelia's game against her opponent, who is a good No. 1 singles for Waseca. Amelia minimized her errors and her opponent became impatient. Milena (Lund), No. 2, played very consistent ground strokes today, but her opponent won many of the crucial points in both sets. Oyku improved her consistency with all parts of her game and played with confidence to narrowly defeat her opponent. Annika played well in coming back from a difficult first set and improved on her ground stroke depth. Unfortunately, her opponent contested her well in the second set tiebreaker and she came up short.”
As the team moves forward to next week, Rothenberger reflected, “In singles, we will continue to work on our targets in the corners of the court with our ground strokes and also spin on our second serve.”
He also noted that he is “proud of how our JV/JH and varsity players are playing so far this season. My assistant coaches and I are finding out what we have as a squad and I believe with the experience gained this year, it will make us a more difficult team to play against in the next couple of years.”
The Saints host New Ulm Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.