Girls varsity tennis looks to win Regionals over rivals and have success at States

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Girls varsity tennis looks to win Regionals over rivals and have success at States

The girls varsity tennis team is coming off of a fifth-place finish in States in 2017 and seventh place in 2018. The team graduated four seniors of the twelve players and have two new captains this coming season. With a new look, the team will look to do what it has done the past few years: replace talent, do well in Conferences and Regionals, and compete and be successful in the State Tournament.

Although the Rangers graduated four seniors, three first-year underclassmen look to fill their void. Sophomores Olivia Hooper and Mina Siebert played together on JV and are both making the jump up to the next level. And while freshman Libby Moog was just in middle school the previous year, she will be one of the more important players on the team in her first year playing at the high school level.

“Libby Moog will for sure be a key player,” junior Andrea Wang said. “She’s only a freshman, but she will definitely be talent added to the lineup.”

While Andrea gave high praise to Libby, she too will be a huge piece in making it to the State Tournament along with all of her teammates.

“In order to have a strong varsity tennis team, you need strength in both the four singles positions and the four doubles positions,” sophomore Emily Johnson said. “All players are needed to have a successful season; however, some key players who will greatly help the team are Andrea Wang, Libby Moog, juniors Mandy Ehrlich and Courtney Fox, and senior captains Katie McClure and Lyndsay Werkema.”

She went on to say that the two captains will be very important to make a run in States, and they will be up for the challenge.

The two senior captains will take the reins from last year’s captains, Kaitlyn Fox and Amy Wang. They will be up for the challenge, as Emily said, but will have a lot to live up to according to head coach Dan Bolhouse

“Co-captain Kaitlyn Fox was our first singles player [last year], and she will be missed,” Bolhouse said. “She led our girls on and off the court extremely well.”

This team chemistry was part of the reason that the girls varsity team has been so successful in previous years; it will be vital to a State Tournament run once again.

“The team goal is to eventually make it to States after winning both the Conference and Regional Tournaments,” Katie said. “As a captain, I’m hoping to cultivate a close bond between the girls because a tight-knit and supportive team performs well together.”

This tight bond is extremely important to doubles partners especially. Because of this, it’s helpful that all four seniors on the team, Katie, Lyndsay, Myah Leavenworth, and Emily Benson, are in the doubles lineup—each has experience with how to be a part of a close team.

With the doubles lineup full of seniors, this leaves the singles to the younger, but still experienced returning singles players Emily Johnson and Andrea.

The team will need both a solid doubles lineup and a great singles lineup to compete with powerhouses East Grand Rapids and Forest Hills Northern—both who happen to be in the same region as the Rangers. Meaning, the Rangers will encounter both opponents frequently in head-to-head matches along with in tournaments.

“We have several important matches; we will play FHN in conference and plenty of other times, which are huge matches for us, and we play EGR at home,” Bolhouse said. “We also face some tough competition in different tournaments like Midland Dow—a contender for a Division 1 title—Grand Rapids Christian, Rockford, and West Ottawa. Another tough team we face that’s historically pretty good is Hudsonville.”

The Rangers begin the season on Monday against this historically good Hudsonville team, which should be a good test to see how successful the team will be; however, its schedule will only get tougher from there even though the Eagles will be a stiff first test.

“Last year, we played well and had some hard-fought matches against the top teams in the state,” Bolhouse said. “We are looking to improve our numbers against the top competition this season.”

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