The Blue Earth Area girls tennis team returned to the court at the end of August as the defending Section 3A champions. And they are hoping to have the chance to defend that title.
“We are hoping to have a post-season but at this point it is still an unknown,” Buccaneer head coach Konny Wolff says referring to the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic. “These girls have worked to make themselves better tennis players so I hope they get the chance to see what they can do.”
This year’s team has six seniors who were on last year’s squad. Ta Armstrong, Cali Beyer, Lyndsey Borris, McKenna Dutton and Arika and Britt Howard have all been on the team since seventh grade and have a wealth of varsity experience.
The Blue Earth Area tennis team has already begun play this year and is undefeated after three meets. The team is pictured above: front row, left to right, Emily Meyer, McKinley Hanson, Lola Lundquist, Gracie Hanson, Jessica Moore, Carol Schrader, Jazmyn Lunz; middle row, left to right, Kylie Rosenau, Olivia Dutton, Allie Lopez, Lauren Survis, Ella Survis, Addison Armstrong, Marissa Benz; back row, left to right; coach Konny Wolff, Téa Armstrong, Britt Howard, Lyndsey Borris, McKenna Dutton, Cali Beyer, Arika Howard, coach Karleigh Wolff. Missing from the photo are Addison and Erin Prescher.
“They are a great bunch of girls and are real leaders,” Wolff comments. “They all get along, they take charge at practice and they make sure the younger players are doing things right.”
Wolff notes the leadership does not stop when the team is off the court.
“I have never had to worry when we would have tournaments that required us to stay overnight,” Wolff shares. “If everyone was supposed to be in their room by 10 p.m., then they were.
There are 10 girls who play for the varsity at every meet, four who play singles and six who compete in doubles.
“Our top 10 players are pretty solid. Our top four singles players are very close in their abilities,” Wolff notes. “Unless there is an injury or sickness, I do not think there will be a change in the group of 10.”
Wolff holds a playoff at the beginning of the year to determine where each girl will play. After the season begins, a player may challenge someone one or two spots ahead of her to try and move up. For instance, someone playing No. 4 singles could challenge the No. 2 or No. 3 singles player but not the No. 1 singles player.
Wolff may also make some adjustments during the year by moving players between playing singles or doubles.
“The schedule this year has us playing each of the five Big South Conference teams on the east side of the conference twice and usually we play the same team twice within a week,” Wolff explains. “It gives me an opportunity to change some things between the two meets to create some different matchups so that the girls get a chance to play someone different.”
In addition to the six seniors on the squad, the team also has six juniors, three ninth graders and seven seventh graders.
“Marissa Benz and Kylie Rosenau are the two juniors playing varsity and Addison Armstrong and Olivia Dutton are our two freshmen girls who start for the varsity,” Wolff says.
In addition to not being able to play in invitational tournaments because of the coronavirus, Wolff states she also misses playing some of the other teams.
“It is too bad we cannot play against Maple River and United South Central,” she remarks. “They are quality teams and not far away.’
But because those teams are not in the BSC, the Bucs do not play them this year during the regular season.
“We really do miss those tournaments,” Wolff says. “Not only for the tennis but also for the team bonding and fun we had.”
Wolff may be happy with the way her team performs on the court but she is just as proud of their performance in the classroom.
“We have received the Gold Academic Award a number of times and these girls take their education seriously,” Wolff states. “We have a good group of younger girls on this team and they could not ask for a finer example to follow.”