The Lakeland girls’ tennis team combined new faces with returning veterans. That all combined for a fun season.
The Thunderbirds finished sixth in conference with a 2-5 conference record, 18-31 overall in duals.
“(It was a) fun season, good season,” coach Tom Oestreich said. “I was happy with it.”
Veteran Kiah Gauthier finished with the fourth best record at No. 1 singles, finishing with a 3-4 record. Gauthier was the only individual to move on from regional play, defeating Amanda Lansing 6-4, 6-4 from Pacelli on Monday, Oct. 7.
Gauthier then advanced to the Division 2 Regis sectionals at the John and Fay Menard YMCA Tennis Center on Thursday, Oct. 10. There she lost 6-1, 6-0 to Caroline Kowieski from Regis, the top-seeded singles player in the first round.
“Kiah playing at No. 1 singles was really nice,” Oestreich said. “She plays on other sports, so she was mentally tough at one singles and at the end it kind of benefited her to win one game at sub-sectionals.”
Lorraine Hammes also finished with the fourth best record at No. 2 singles, finishing 3-4.
“Lorraine kept getting better every match and gaining confidence,” Oestreich said. “(She) lost at conference to the girl from Medford and turned around and (beat her) pretty good in sub-sectionals. Proud moment for me as a coach.”
One of those new faces quickly rose up the ranks of Lakeland tennis. Freshman, Maria Gironella started at No. 4 singles where she posted a perfect 2-0 record. Then, she bumped up to No. 3 singles, finishing with a 2-3 record.
“I think she got a little bit of an eye-opener when she made that move to three, but at the end of the season she kept getting better and better, got her confidence, hit the ball like she’s capable (and0 really flourished at the end of the season,” Oestreich said.”
That was where Gironella finished all-conference honorable mention, defeating Cassidy Balciar from Medford 6-1, 6-2 and Marshfield Columbus’ Maria Laura Garcia-Moya 7-5, 6-1.
Emma Rose started at No. 3 singles where she played to a 0-2 record. Rose switched with Gironella and played No. 4 singles the rest of the way where she found some success and a 2-3 record.
“Emma just kept betting better as the season went on,” Oestreich said. “She put together a nice season.”
There were a few No. 1 doubles teams. To start the year, veterans Hayley Fieck and Anna Maulson were a pair, just like they were last year. They started with an 0-2 record.
Then at No. 2 doubles, there were more new faces in Britta Salquist and Vivian Trapp. They started with an 0-1 record. With those records in mind, Oestreich made a switch.
Fieck and Trapp became the No. 1 doubles team for the rest of the season, finishing with a 2-3 record.
“I think it went well with Hayley and Vivian,” Oestreich said. “(They) both were seniors and we wanted to have a fun successful senior season. (I’m) proud of Vivian for how she picked up the game and Hayley for staying rock solid.”
Salquist and Maulson became the No. 2 doubles team and finished with a 1-3 record.
“This was (Britta’s) first year playing tennis, picked up the doubles game (and) worked with Anna,” Oestreich said. “They had some good matches and played some of their best matches towards the end of the season.”
The most consistent doubles pair came at No. 3 doubles, Brenna Fricke and Phoebe Wirtz posted a 1-5 record. Their consistency of playing together built their chemistry and helped them to play better as the season went on.
“They had fun out there and kept it loose and just did a nice job picking up some wins for us at three doubles,” Oestreich said.
Together as a group, the Lakeland tennis team learned the game of tennis, grew in their knowledge of the game and played to their potential. In addition to that, Oestreich couldn’t have done it without his seniors.
“I had seven seniors this year, so I really appreciated my seniors helping me with coaching on the court,” he said. “Those seniors will be missed. I really enjoyed working with them.”
Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]