Continuing the pace and tone set after their first dominant performance against Lakeland on Thursday, Aug. 16, the Rhinelander Girls Tennis team continued their roll as they defeated Medford 6-1 in the second match of the season.
The 6 to 1 victories were all straight set wins for the Hodags on Tuesday, Aug. 21, showing that the extra training and experience of the team has been a major factor thus far in the season. The only stumble on the day was a three set loss at the No. 3 doubles spot. Besides the lone hiccup, the Lady Hodags had several key performances that only secure the hopes of another conference championship. One such performance was from junior Rosalyn Hatlen, who picked up her first varsity win Tuesday night in the No. 3 singles slot.
“I thought she played a pretty consistent match,” RHS tennis coach Bob Heideman said.
Another flash of brilliance for the Hodags was their resilience in the face of adversity. When sophomore Amber Sheth went down with a wrist injury, Coach Heideman had to tinker with the doubles teams to ensure Rhinelander’s best shot at winning. He called on Erin Tenderholt to step up and play with Amber’s older sister, Melissa. While they started off slow, the doubles team picked up steam in the second set and secured the win for the Hodags.
“They are new playing together, it was a good match,” says Heideman. “I am also pleased with our No. 1 doubles team and our straight single players. We were kind of expecting that out of the seniors.”
Such seniors include BethAnn Zenk and Kelsie Prahl. Competing as the No. 1 doubles team, they won straight sets 6-2 and 6-1 to continue the dominant surge of the Hodags.
“I think we used our strengths to conquer Medford’s team tonight,” explained Zenk. “We are here to show other conference teams we are the real deal and prove we aren’t going down without a fierce fight.”
When looking toward the future, Coach Heideman has high expectations, but given the recent success of the past girls tennis teams the goals are definitely within reach.
“We have our sights on the conference title,” stated Heideman bluntly. “Our secondary goal is to advance more than one player down to sectionals. Eileen Emond was the only one (that went last year) and we hope we can get more down there.”
The future schedule is very busy for the Hodags, but with two dominant victories under their belt they hope to keep the streak alive.