Rackets, nets and balls are all the Blue Earth Area girls tennis team needs to make a successful season.
That and the one more year of experience the girls have working as a team and playing as singles and doubles.
"We're young," says head coach Terry Barnes. "We've got a young team. We're just one more year experienced."
The Blue Earth Area girls tennis varsity team has been practicing and playing already at the start of this fall season. Left to right, back row: Kaitlyn Olsen, Angie Cyphers, Lacey Benz, Anikka Wilhelmi, Kali Viland, Natali Fellows and Karli Olsen. Left to right, front row: Rebeka Krussow, Paige Darrington, Lindsey Prokop, Karleigh Wolff and Annaliese Klinkner.
Barnes, along with assistant coach Konny Wolff, has been out on the courts with the girls who are practicing intensely for the start of the new season.
"We have had a great first week of practice," adds Barnes.
The only hold up so far is that one of the doubles teams is incomplete. Kali Viland fell sick and was unable to practice for most of the first week and the other No. 4 doubles slot is open for now.
"Our third doubles (team) we will be searching for a combination to try to add to our depth, but right now the kids on the third doubles are going to be very inexperienced, varsity-wise," says Barnes.
Both the varsity and junior varsity teams this year are smaller than they have been in the past, but that does not put a hamper on the enthusiasm of the coach and team members.
"Like I told them the first day, 'I hope you see the potential of this team,'" says Barnes. "They worked that way this week. Their attitudes have been super. I just love their attitude this year."
The lineup has not strayed far from last year's. The No. 1 singles player is Karleigh Wolff, followed by No. 2 Lindsey Prokop, and Anikka Wilhelmi as No. 3, with Kaitlyn Olsen holding the No. 4 singles slot.
As for doubles, Natali Fellows and Karli Olsen will be in the #1 spot with Paige Darrington and Beka Krussow as No. 2 doubles. Annaliese Klinkner and Lacey Benz are the No. 3 doubles team with Kali Viland as the sole No. 4 doubles team member.
Barnes notes that Angie Cyphers and Samantha Lorenzen are the top players for JV.
"We only have one senior, period," says Barnes. "We're loaded with juniors and sophomores."
But, don't let that fool you, these girls know their stuff when it comes to tennis.
"Varsity has nine returning letter winners, I believe,"?Barnes states. "We should be reasonably good this year, optimistically good. I really believe our kids have worked hard and will do well."
Although Barnes has confidence in his girls, he also believes that United South Central will go far.
"USC, in my opinion, should be the favorite in the Section," says Barnes. "St. James and Waseca will be the favorite for our conference."
Last season, the BEA team snagged the runner-up spot at the Section 2A Girls Tennis Tournament. The overall record was 12-6 with a record of 3-2 for the South Central Conference.
Once the team competition was completed, two individuals Kaitlyn Olson and Karleigh Wolff were honored by being named to the All-Conference team.
Wolff's scoring throughout the season placed her in seventh out of 19 with a total of 28 points based on the position she held and the matches she won.
Olson won the SCC Individual Championship to secure her spot on the All-Conference team.
Another honor from last season was when assistant coach Konny Wolff was named the Girls' Assistant Tennis Coach of the Year for Section 2A.
The beginning of the current season has started off with a bang. The BEA girls tennis team had a scrimmage on Monday, Aug. 19 and have played a few matches already. While beating the heat, they also beat Glencoe-Silver Lake, 5-2; Sibley East, 6-1; and Jordan, 6-1.