Girls' tennis: Ellsworth looks for rhythm prior to postseason
Ellsworth girls' tennis coach Dylan Greske described his team's 2018 season as a "wet" one.
The Panthers have had two matches and many practices postponed or cancelled due to the reoccuring heavy rains, which have forced them to settle for one match and one practice for the past two weeks.
"It's hard to get in a rhythm," Greske said. "Our postseason is coming up quick, and we're still trying to get a feel for everything."
The Panthers made tweaks to their lineup before their Thursday, Sept. 6, non-conference match against the Golden Bears. Ellsworth lost its third dual of the season by a 6-1 margin, but walked away with specific targets for where they'll need to improve prior to the Sept. 25, Middle Border Conference Tournament.
Juniors Mattie Beck — who typically plays No. 1 singles for the Panthers — and Riley Schumaker played to deuce in the majority of their games, but were taken down by Barron's Jada Brunkow and Phoebe Jerome 6-3, 6-0.
Beck and Schumaker said they saw improvements throughout their Sept. 6 match, but narrowed down what still needs fine-tuning.
"I want to keep my mental strength up, because sometimes I get into a match and think, 'I'm losing, this is horrible,' and I just have to tell myself, 'Wait, pick yourself back up, you've got this,'" Beck said.
Schumaker said she needs to continue to keep her intensity consistent and focus on the basics of tennis.
"I just need to focus on getting the ball within the lines and over the net," Schumaker said. "That's all tennis is."
Kacie Duval lost her No. 1 singles match 6-1, 6-0 to Hallie Zurn, and typical No. 1 doubles player Lydia Cole was taken down 6-2, 6-1 by Alyssa Pehrson in her No. 2 singles match.
No. 3 singles player Ella Gardner and No. 4 singles player Bailey Ahlers were also defeated in two sets.
Marissa Mauerer and Leah Pieper filled the Panthers' No. 2 doubles spot on Thursday, and fell 6-3, 6-2 to the Bears' Kris Shipley and Grace Berer.
The Panthers' only win came from No. 3 doubles players Jenna Giese and Tori Dawley, who defeated Sawyer Blick and Aryn Lipke by a clean 6-0, 6-0 sweep.
In general, Greske said his team will continue to hammer home its technique and fundamentals as its season continues to wind down.
"Once you've got that," Greske said, "the rest will come."
The Panthers will continue their season on Thursday, Sept. 13, with a duel at Mondovi. The team will return to Summit Park on Thursday, Sept. 20, for their final home match of the season.
Panther tennis supporters are encouraged to register for the team's third annual "Light Up the Night" 5k fundraiser, which will be held on Saturday, Sept. 22, at Summit Park. Those who register before Saturday, Sept. 15, will receive a T-shirt with their $20 registration fee. Registration will cost $15 after Sept. 15, but will not include a T-shirt. Forms and waivers can be found and turned into the Ellsworth High School office or any member of the tennis team.