The St. Peter Saints girls tennis team remains undefeated in Big South Conference with two back-to-back wins against the New Ulm Eagles: 6-1, 5-2.
Coach Aaron Rothenberger said of their first win last Thursday at SPHS: “We played good tennis today—very business like. We went out on the court knowing we can get out there and compete against New Ulm. We didn’t have to win a ton of crucial points against their doubles. That is a little weaker part of their team. Our doubles played well enough to win easily.”
For singles, Rothenberger noted: “I knew going in that their singles were their tough part of the team. It wasn’t going to be an easy day for our singles. They’d get challenged, but I was really pleased with how our singles played better that second set. They were way more consistent, hitting more winners.”
On Monday at New Ulm, the Saints mixed things up in the line-up: Lizzy Orth played with Jayna Matejcek, who usually plays 2 doubles; 2 doubles consisted of 3, 4 singles players Rhyan Holmgren and Maddie Kamm. Emily Salfer, 1 doubles, moved to 3 singles; and Josie Wiebusch, 2 doubles, played at 4 singles.
“It was a new strategy,” Rothenberger said. “I wanted to get a few doubles players in a singles match, see how it played out. I was very pleased with how she (Wiebusch) played. New Ulm has seasoned singles players. They pretty much have the same singles line up the last couple of seasons. You have to take that into consideration. You’re not used to playing singles and you have to go against season players totally different strategy.” Limited practice time due to rain also made the transition challenging.”
Of Salfer’s match, Rothenberger said: “Emily is an outstanding player, too. She has more experience at singles and I thought she battled really well.”
Both Wiebusch and Salfer won their first sets, and lost in close third-set tie breakers.
With the change in doubles, Rothenberger explained: “I wanted to get Maddie and Rhyan a chance at doubles. I thought it turned out well. I wasn’t expecting a tight match there, but I didn’t think they’d win 6-1, 6-0. I was really pleased with how they finish games.” Kamm and Holmgren have experience playing doubles together last year.
No. 1 doubles Orth and Matecjek also had a good showing at 6-4, 6-1. Rothenberger said it took the first set to figure things out with new partners, but they got it worked out in the end. No. 3 doubles, Molly Voeltz and Macy Weller, who have played together half of the matches this season (Voeltz plays with Weller and Raina Roemhildt) and have not lost a match this season, upset NU 6-2, 6-2.
No. 1 and 2 singles, Amelia Hildebrandt and Annika Southworth, played solid tennis today, Rothenberger said. “I thought this was one of those improvements compared to last Thursday. Amazing how that happens in a few days. Amelia just went after her opponent. There was no waiting for a reaction from her opponent. She just went right after her and played solid tennis, hit her targets really well. It’s like nothing phased her. She was totally locked in, concentrated, and beat a really good opponent.” Hildebrandt took Makiah Otto in 2 sets: 6-2, 6-1.
Hildebrandt said from Thursday’s match to today, she had more consistency with her shots and used the wind was to her advantage. “I had to hit more strategically to hit to her backhand and work with the wind when the balls would go shorter.” As the Saints move on to Blue Earth Thursday, Hildebrandt said she’ll work on “consistency, overall.”
Regarding Southworth’s performance Monday, Rothenberger said that “she is a competitor; she won’t give you an inch, and it showed today. She got in there with her opponent, got her frustrated.” Southworth defeated Abby Hietala 6-1, 6-1.
Rothenberger said the varsity, and JV teams played strong tennis with the JV team only dropping a few matches both days.
The Saints travel Thursday to Blue Earth to play the undefeated Bucaneers (7-0).
“I’m looking forward to that match,” Rothenberger stated, “We’ll do whatever we can to get ready because that is going to be really good battle. We have to be focused, play our best tennis to compete.”
Thursday: St. Peter 6, New Ulm 1
1. Hildebrandt (10), SP, def. Otto (11) 7-6 (1), 6-3
2. Southworth (8),SP, def. Hietala (11) 6-3, 6-0
3. Malia Emerson (11), NU, def. Holmgren 7-5, 6-1
4. Kamm (9), SP, def. Lydia King (9) 7-6 (6), 6-3
1. Orth (12)-Salfer (12), SP, def. Emily Guggisberg (11)-Maddie O’Connor (11) 6-2, 6-0
2. Matejcek (12)-Wiebusch (11), SP, def. Graceylyn Nesje (11)-Makenna Simpson (11) 6-2, 6-0
3. Voeltz (11)-Raina Roemhildt (10), SP, def. Alex Vigil (11)-Marissa Tedesco (11) (10) 6-1, 6-3
Top JV Doubles
Weller (10)- Allie Pettis (12) def. Kate Frauenholtz (10)-Calya Glaser (10), NU 6-2, 6-1
Monday: St. Peter 5, New Ulm 2
1. Hildebrandt (10),SP, def. Otto (11) 6-2, 6-1
2. Southworth (8), SP, def. Hietala (11) 6-1, 6-1
3. Emerson (11), NU, def. Salfer 2-6, 7-6 (3), 10-8
4. King (9), NU def. Wiebusch (11) 5-7, 6-4, 10-8
1. Orth (12)-Matejcek (12), SP, def. Guggisberg (11)-O’Connor (11) 6-4, 6-1
2. Kamm (9)-Holmgren (9), SP, def. Simpson (11)-Nesje (11) 6-1, 6-0
3. Voeltz (11)-Weller (10), SP, def. Vigil (11)-Tedesco (12) 6-2, 6-2
Top JV Doubles
Raina Roemhildt (10)-Allie Pettis (12), SP, def. Frauenholtz (10)-Glaser (10) 6-0, 6-0