Buc tennis team welcomes 7 seniors this season
There is good news and there is bad news when it comes to this year’s Blue Earth Area Buccaneer girls tennis team.
First the bad news.
“We lost both our No. 1 and No. 2 singles players from last year (due to graduation),” says new Buc head coach Konny Wolff. “That was Karleigh (Wolff) and Kaitlyn (Olsen). So we need to find a No. 1 and a No. 2.”
And, it might not be easy replacing Wolff, who played No. 1 singles for four years and sported an 18-1 record last season.
The Bucs’ third senior last year was Becca Krussow, who played second doubles.
Now the good news.
The Bucs have seven seniors ready to step up and take some leadership roles this year. And all of them have plenty of varsity experience.
Lacey Benz, Karli Olsen, Natali Fellows, Paige Darrington, Annaliese Klinkner, Angie Cyphers and Annika Wilhelmi all have a lot of experience on the varsity team.
“All of these girls are pretty evenly skilled,” coach Wolff says. “We are having some playoffs this week to try and help decide who will be playing where.”
Fellows and Olsen played doubles together last year, but they will be moving into singles play this season, coach Wolff says.
And, Darrington, Wilhelmi, and junior Gracie Leland, who played No. 4 singles last year, will also be added into the mix of candidates to fill the four slots.
“They are all so close,” Wolff says. “So we may switch them out (from No. 1 to No. 4) throughout the season.”
The coach had not yet decided on a lineup for doubles teams yet, either, as of a week before the season was to start.
Seniors Cyphers, Klinkner and Benz are in the mix, as are sophomores Malarie Scholtes and Julia Hanson. Both of them saw varsity action last year as freshmen. Another player in contention for doubles action is freshman Karissa Engesser.
The Bucs also have four eighth graders and five seventh graders out for tennis this year, as well.
“Some of the seventh graders are pretty good athletes and that looks good for the future of girls tennis at BEA,” coach Wolff says.
The Buccaneer coach will have to come up with a lineup in a hurry, as the Buccaneers have already jumped in with both feet into this season’s tennis action.
Last Monday, Aug. 24, the team traveled to participate in the Le Sueur-Henderson scrimmage. That night they stayed in Hutchinson, because the very next day, they were in the Glencoe-Silver Lake Tournament.
Besides G-SL and BEA, the tourney featured Belle Plaine and United South Central.
Two days later, on Thursday, Aug. 27, the team travels to Luverne and the next day, Friday, they head back to Le Sueur-Henderson for a tri-meet competition.
After taking a break over the weekend, they will compete again this week, taking on Albert Lea here at home on Tuesday, Sept. 1, and then hosting Maple River on Thursday.
All this action before school even officially begins.
Last year the Bucs participated in a new conference, the Big South. Now this season, something else is new.
“We are in a new section this year, Section 3A,” coach Wolff explains. “We will be facing teams like St. James, Fairmont, Luverne and USC and Maple River,” the coach explains. “And St. James has won that section for like 16 or 17 straight years.”
Coach Wolff, who was the assistant coach last year, took over for coach Terry Barnes. Wolff had been coaching the boys team, as well.
The new coach is cautiously optimistic for the season.
“I think we should be good,” she says. “It is always hard to replace your No. 1 and 2, but we have players on this team with a lot of varsity experience.”
The Bucs should be competitive in all their matches, the coach says.
“These girls all have very good attitudes,” Wolff says. “And they are all very positive about the team and each other.”
With Wolff stepping up from assistant to head coach, she needed to fill the assistant spot as well as finding a new No. 1 and No. 2 player.
Taylor Allis, who is the new seventh grade math teacher at BEA (replacing Nate Lund), is filling the assistant coach position this year.
“Taylor went to school at USC and was in cross country and tennis,” coach Wolff says. “So she knows tennis and is stepping right in.”
Both coaches, and pretty much all of the girls, are very excited for this season to begin.
“It’s always a fun time,” Wolff adds.