Records are made to be broken. Last season, Chanhassen welcomes 48 players to the tennis courts for the girls fall sport. This year, despite graduating eight of the top 12, that number is 57.
Eight courts at Chanhassen High School and more at Pioneer Ridge Middle School don't seem to be enough these days with everyone out.
In what can be described as a "rebuild" year, having those numbers for future seasons is perfect timing.
"We will spend the year emphasizing how we play and emulate 'Storm Tennis' both on and off the court," Chanhassen coach Jim Mason, in year No. 11 at the helm, said.
That process started the first few days of tryouts. Bringing everyone up to speed, knowing what to expect from both Coach Mason, and the upcoming season.
"We just try and jump into it right away as a team. We try to get everyone to come together as one team. You're trying to include everyone, making sure no one feels left out, feels left behind," Chanhassen captain Emma Oyen said.
Oyen, a senior, and Lauren Spear, a junior, have been on varsity since ninth grade. Their experience will be leaned on as well as sophomores Natasha Gauerke and Savannah George, both varsity regulars in 2018.
"It's probably very stressful for a lot of them. There were many of them that didn't know what to expect. You just try and help them in whatever way you can. Let them know it's okay, just do your best," Spear said.
"Both our captains, Lauren and Emma, will be thrust into a very important leadership role helping us establish our Storm Culture. They are off to a great start!" Mason said.
Spear and Oyen will occupy the top two positions in singles. Spear bounced between first singles and first doubles a year ago, but will focus on singles this season.
She's up for the challenge playing the opposition's top player.
"I'd say my serve is my most improved part of my game. I have the ability to place it now. That and I'm not afraid anymore to come to the net. Playing doubles last year helped a ton," Spear said. "It's so much fun playing at No. 1. Everyone is just so good, it's a learning experience every match. It's a challenge, playing long points, trying to keep up, but something I'm up for."
Oyen has been locked into singles for the most part the last three seasons, a position she's comfortable with.
"I think I have more strategy now. It's not just hitting the ball back over the net. With my experience I'm thinking about where to put the ball, how to make my opponent work," Oyen said. "I've gotten better keeping myself up. When you're playing singles, you don't have that partner to communicate with, so it's key to keep yourself up, being positive."
The doubles line-up will be key to Chanhassen's improvement. Right now it's about finding the right players for the right spots in the line-up.
"Even though our doubles are very inexperienced I am excited about what I see and how they have responded to what we are trying to teach them. The sky is the limit for this group!" Mason said.
"I believe we are there, but Thursday and Friday (Aug. 22-23) in Belle Plaine and St. James will give me more information. Our overnight trip early in the season again this year will help our team come together as one unit," the coach added.
Match time is 4:15 p.m. on Aug. 22 in Belle Plaine with a quadrangular with Hutchinson and Fairmont in St. James at 9 a.m. on Aug. 23.
The home opener is Monday, Aug. 26 at 4 p.m. against Southwest Christian.
HOLY FAMILY TENNIS
Playing in the final matches of the Class A State Girls Tennis Tournament in 2017 and 2018, Holy Family Catholic junior Ally Agerland has her sights on something bigger.
So does the Fire team as a whole.
“We are again looking at numbers in the 35 range, which means we will have a chance to be deeper than first anticipated,” Fire head coach TJ Garin said. “Our goal is to win the conference, take the section, and get back to the tradition Holy Family has been reaching for, playing at Reed Sweatt by October.”
Along with Agerland, Morgan Hausback is the other captain. Garin sees those players occupying first singles and first doubles.
“We have some great young talent that will be helping a great deal in making our line-up deeper. Our biggest challenge will be to find out where the chips fall and who can best fill each spot from rookie to experienced,” he said.