As expected, competition was tough in season’s first week
MEDFORD GIRLS TENNIS
The Medford Raiders ran into an early- season buzzsaw on the tennis courts Tuesday and got swept 7-0 by the undefeated Eau Claire Regis Ramblers in a non-conference dual meet.
The now 6-0 Ramblers won each match in straight sets and lost just eight games in those matches while dropping the visiting Raiders to 0-6 through the first week of regular-season play.
Medford will try again to notch its first win of 2020 today, Thursday, when it hosts Newman Catholic in Great Northern Conference play at 4:30 p.m. on the MASH courts.
The closest match at Regis, at least for awhile, came at number-one doubles. Medford’s Jordaan Clark and Kelsey Jascor pushed the Ramblers’ Evie Shepich and Caitlin Klink in the first set before the Regis eventually pulled out a 7-5 win. Shepich and Klink went on to win the second set 6-0 to take the match. Shepich, a junior, was part of a sixth-place doubles finisher at last fall’s WIAA Division 2 state tournament.
In the rest of doubles play, the Ramblers’ Adrienne Morning and Teigan Petersilka swept Medford’s Eryka Seidel and Myah Smith 6-0, 6-0 at number-two and Abby Erickson and Lauren Seeman swept Raiders Kenya Mann and Paige Entenmann 6-0, 6-0 at number-three.
In singles play, Regis senior Arianna Smith was a 6-1, 6-0 winner over Medford senior Brooke Sommer in flight one. Sofi e Merrick handled Sophie Brost 6-0, 6-0 in flight two. Maddie Metz downed Raider Lindsey Wildberg 6-1, 6-1 at numberthree and Brittany Martin won the number- four match 6-0, 6-0 over Medford’s Autumn Higgins.
As expected, the Raiders faced strong competition at Friday’s Altoona Quad. While dropping all three dual meets, the Raiders were able to experiment with some different lineups.
Medford’s closest meet was with Amery. Three matches went to third-set tiebreakers as the Warriors prevailed 4-3.
Wildberg and Mann teamed up to win one of those three-setters in flighttwo doubles and it was about as close as a match can get. Amery’s Maya Curtis and Lidia Curtis took the first set 7-5 and nearly finished off a sweep in the second set. But Mann and Wildberg hung tough and won the set 7-6, taking the tiebreaker 7-5. The Raider duo then edged the Amery team in the 10-point third-set tiebreaker 10-8 to win the match.
Smith and Seidl also won in three sets in the flight-three doubles match. Amery’s Annie Zinn and Jorri Johns cruised to a 6-0 win in the first set, but the Raider sophomores rebounded with a 6-3 win in the second set. They took the third-set tiebreaker 10-7 to earn the victory for Medford.
The other three-set match came at number-one singles, where Brost took the first set against Amery’s Truc Nguyen 6-4, but Nguyen bounced back with 6-4, 10-4 wins to earn a key victory for the Warriors.
Makayla Motte earned Medford’s other win in the dual. She took the number- four singles match with Ella Fulton, squeaking out a 7-6 (4) first-set win in a tiebreaker and a 6-4 victory in the second set.
Amery’s Sophie Whitley and Hannah Bottolfson were 6-2, 6-0 winners at number- one doubles over Medford’s senior duo of Sommer and Clark. Ashley Benysek was a 6-2, 6-0 winner over Jascor at number-two singles and Lauren Sobczak beat Higgins 6-0, 6-0 at number-three singles.
Eventual tournament champion Altoona beat Medford 6-1. Wildberg picked Medford’s lone win, sweeping Xeng Her 6-4, 6-1 in the flight-three singles match.
The Railroaders were straight-set winners in all other matches. Morgan Dekan was a 6-1, 6-0 winner over Sommer at number-one singles, while Josie Rechek beat Brost 6-2, 6-4 in flight two. Abigail Proudlock beat Higgins 6-0, 6-0 at number-four.
Ally Wagner and Averie Varsho took down Clark and Jascor in the top doubles flight 6-1, 6-1. Anna Grance and Greta Schlafer beat Smith and Seidl in the number-two match 6-1, 6-1, while Keelyn Marlaire and Khalia Mork swept Mann and Motte at number-three 6-0, 6-0.
Onalaska Luther, a WIAA Division 2 team state qualifier last fall, swept Medford 7-0 in the Raiders’ final dual of the day.
Four returning members of the Knights’ 2019 state team were responsible for their wins over Medford in the top two doubles flights. Cassie Warren and Sarah Hoffe swept Clark and Jascor 6-0, 6-0, while Brost and Mann put up a fight in a 6-1, 7-5 win for Katie Kutz and Hannah Larson. Elle Bolstad and Jada Wahl beat Smith and Seidl 6-1, 6-1.
In singles play, Emily Yehle outlasted Sommer 6-4, 6-2 in the number-one match. Emma Larson defeated Wildberg 6-3, 6-1 at number-two, Maddy Olson downed Motte 6-1, 6-0 at number-three and Jessica Waege swept Medford’s Christine Czeshinski 6-0, 6-0 in flight four.
Altoona beat Amery 5-2 and Luther 4-3 to go 3-0 for the day. Luther swept Amery 7-0 to finish 2-1.
Hodags 7, Raiders 0
In the home opener Thursday, Medford was able to get a few games here and there, but annual Great Northern Conference power Rhinelander was too much in a 7-0 varsity sweep and improved to 2-0 in league play.
Despite the loss, which dropped the Raiders to 0-2 in the GNC, head coach Jake Bucki felt the Raiders played better overall than they did two days earlier in a season-opening loss at Lakeland.
“I was happy with how we competed,” he said.
The most competitive match, at least early on, was at number-two doubles. Smith and Higgins pushed Rhinelander senior Alexis Engelking and junior Kylee Younker before falling 6-4 in the first set. The Hodags gained firm control in set two and finished the match off 6-1.
The Raiders picked up more game wins in the second sets of the other two doubles matches. Clark and Jascor threat- ened Hodags Kathryn Borski and Taylor Riopel in the second set but weren’t able to force a third in the Hodags’ 6-1, 6-3 win. Paige Oleinik and Shayla Coppenger were 6-1, 6-2 winners over Czeshinski and Motte in flight three.
In singles play, Sommer got off to a tough start but played better as her flightone match with Hodag Annika Johnson progressed. Johnson, who got honorable mention in the GNC last year at number- one singles, won 6-0, 6-3.
Brost played more aggressively and confidently in the latter stages of her number-two match Kaylee Pontell, the GNC’s third-flight champion a year ago. Pontell was a 6-1, 6-2 winner.
Last year’s number-four GNC champion, Kat Metropulos, defeated Wildberg 6-0, 6-1 in flight three, but Wildberg made Metropulos work for several of her points. Tori Riopel was a 6-1, 6-1 winner over Mann in the flight-four match.