After losing 10 seniors from last year’s team to graduation, Wayzata girl’s tennis coach Kathy Farmer knew there would be some question marks coming into this season. With a somewhat inexperienced roster she has also found herself judging her team’s performance by other factors than simply the final score of their matches.
Take recent matches against Mounds View (Sept. 16) and Eden Prairie (Sept. 10) for example.
“We lost 6-1 to Mounds View, which is the No. 3 team in the state. But we were very competitive and lost some close matches so I was really proud of the girls,” Farmer said. “We also lost a really close one to Eden Prairie and they are ranked No. 9 in the state. We had four matches go to a third set in that match.”
Farmer said she has had to shuffle her lineup around early in the season to find the right combinations, especially in the doubles lineup.
“When you have 10 new players it’s sometimes hard to put the pieces together, but I think we’re figuring some things out,” she said.
One piece to the puzzle that is in place is the No. 1 singles spot, which is occupied by junior captain Miriam Shteyman. Shteyman recorded the team’s lone point in the match against Mounds View with a straight set victory.
“Miriam has improved and has put so much work into her game in the past year that it’s kind of amazing,” Farmer said. “She’s always working on her game, she’s super focused and she’s a great leader.”
Junior captain Emma Hawkinson is the team’s No. 2 singles player, while eighth-grader Greta Holmes is playing from the No. 3 singles slot.
“Emma holds her own out there, but she’s in a tough spot in the lineup playing a lot of girls who would be the No. 1 player on a lot of teams in the metro area,” Farmer said. “Greta has great potential and is going to be a really good player. For an eighth-grader, she handles herself very well on the court and has been a really good addition to the team.”
Junior Lauren Pause has recently stepped into the No. 4 singles position.
Farmer says the doubles lineup has been more of a fluid situation, but that successful pairings are starting to reveal themselves.
Juniors Emily Mendel and Elise Koltonowski appear poised to play No. 1 doubles together for the remainder of the season.
“It took me awhile to come to this, but they keep each other very positive during the match,” Farmer said. “They end up getting a lot of points that I normally think they wouldn’t because they stay positive and focused.”
Senior Kate Ainsworth and junior Sydney Polencheck played together at No. 2 doubles against Mounds View. Senior Lauren Otto and junior Jayden Haukos have been a steady pairing at No. 3 doubles all season.
Due to several rain-outs early in the season, the Trojans have a jam packed schedule.
They were scheduled to face section opponent Maple Grove on Tuesday, Sept. 17, and Buffalo on Wednesday, Sept. 18. (Both matches were played after this edition of Lakeshore Weekly News went to press.)
On Thursday, Sept. 19, they will travel to No. 1-ranked Edina. Then on Saturday, Sept. 21, they will play in the Rochester Mayo Invitational against several talented teams including No. 2-ranked Minnetonka.
“Edina and Minnetonka are really well-run programs and I have a huge amount of respect for their coaches, Steve Paulson and Dave Stearns,” Farmer said. “Playing teams like that is good competition for our girls.”