RHS wins two matches at Sub-Sectional
STAR JOURNAL REPORT
The Rhinelander High School girls tennis team advanced one singles player to the Division 1 Sectional at Wausau West after the Hodags won only two matches in all seven flights in Monday’s Sub-Sectional at Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln.
RHS senior Belinda Weddle qualified for the Sectional in No. 1 singles after winning her Sub-Sectional match in straight sets over Marshfield senior Ashley Schultz, 6-3, 6-2.
Hodags head coach Bob Heideman said Weddle, who improved her season match record to 15-9, played steady in both sets to outlast Schultz.
“Belinda got a lot of balls back (Monday),” Heideman said. “In both sets the points seemed to get easier late in the sets.
“She has been to sectionals for the past three years and it was one of her goals to make it again. She had a rain-interrupted, unfinished match with Ashley earlier in the year that was very close, 7-5, 5-6, so we expected a tough match.”
RHS’s other match victory came in No. 3 singles with junior Emma Roberts defeating Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln senior Zoe Gilmaster in straight sets, 6-4, 7-5.
“(Emma Roberts) got off to a slow start getting down 0-3 before winning her first game,” Heideman said. “After Zoe won a game, Emma ran off five games to close out the set. Emma got down 3-4 in the second set, before getting to 5-5 (and) then put two solid games together to win the match.”
Roberts needed two Sub-Sectional match victories to advance to the Sectional in No. 3 singles, however. She lost her second match to Wausau East freshman Lea Ratanawong, 1-6, 1-6, and ended the season with a team-leading match record of 20-4.
“Emma has come a long way this season,” Heideman said. “I did not see 20 wins for her at the beginning of the season.”
The Hodags dropped the opening matches of the other five flights in straight sets.
RHS sophomore Alex Oestreich was defeated in No. 2 singles by Marshfield junior Dara Stichert, 2-6, 4-6. In No. 4 singles, sophomore Kenedy Van Zile lost to Wausau West senior Claire Bizjak, 4-6, 2-6.
The Hodags’ No. 1 doubles pair of Livi Roberts and Haley Seefeldt fell to Wausau West’s Erin Achatz and Kylie Rennie, 3-6, 4-6. In No. 2 doubles, Alexis Pyrchalla and Madi Losch were defeated by Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln’s Paige Vruwink and Ellie Schueran, 5-7, 5-7. In No. 3 doubles, Jackie Wells and Savannah Chartier lost to Steven Point’s Jenna Boeck and Anna Hlavac, 4-6, 5-7.
“We knew we would have some close matches and that’s just what we got,” Heideman said. “A lot of close sets – we came out on the short end of too many of them.”
Heideman noted the Sub-Sectional also marked the final high school match for senior Livi Roberts.
“Her enthusiasm, skills and leadership were an integral part of our season,” Heideman said. “She made strides with her serve return and net play. She and Haley won the three-setter netter award two years in a row. That rarely happens. Hers will be some tough shoes to fill (when she can remember to bring them).”
Among the eight teams at Monday’s Sub-Sectional, the Hodags tied for fifth with four points. Wausau East topped the team standings with 24 points, followed by Stevens Point (20), Wausau West (16), Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln (6), RHS and Marshfield (4), Merrill (2) and D.C. Everest (0).