Barnes looks for improvement
After going 0-5 in the conference last year, Blue Earth Area girls tennis coach Terry Barnes looks forward to a much improved season this year.
He has a good returning group of varsity players he expects will show a lot of improvement.
“Last year we expected some of these girls to play above their abilities,” he says. “We had them playing varsity with little experience at that level.”
This year he thinks the team will be much more competitive.
The Buccaneers have 27 girls out in grades 7-12.
“We don’t have a junior high program here, so all of the younger players are listed as junior varsity,” Barnes says. “This means they sometimes play older, more experienced players in junior varsity meets.”
Barnes has seven seniors on this year’s squad to help lead the team.
Samantha Hogstad, Annika Johnson, Macken-zie Lein, Jessica Skaare, Olivia Skaare, Mariah Garver and exchange student Petra Uhlikova are expected to anchor the squad.
Barnes says his No. 1 singles player is a junior, Emily Slama.
Other juniors are Jordan Hanevik, Blaire Zierke and Julia Meyer. For Meyer, it is her first season out for the tennis team.
Sophomores out for the team include Morgan Schoenfelder and Megan Andrews. Freshmen on the squad are Autumn Drake, Abby Nimz and Aeli Olson.
Barnes says he has a lot of players who are at the same playing level, meaning he has some choices to make in the line-up.
“Our players at each spot could vary through the season,” Barnes says. “It will be a matter of who steps up, plays well, and competes.”
For now he expects Annika Johnson to play at the No. 2 singles position and Sam Hogstad at No. 3 singles.
The No. 4 singles spot will see a variety of girls competing, Barnes says.
Jessica Skaare and Olivia Skaare will be the No. 1 doubles team, with Mackenzie Lein and Abby Nimz at No. 2.
Blaire Zierke and Jordan Hanevick will be the No. 3 doubles team as the season gets under way.
Barnes says BEA exchange student Petra Uhlikova could be a good addition to the team, but because she is living with a coach at BEA (Travis Armstrong family), Minnesota State High School League rules prevent her from competing on the varsity level.
To read more of this story, see this week’s Register.