Seniors prepare way for 2022 Trojans girls tennis team
A talented group of seniors are headlining the Worthington High School girls tennis team
WORTHINGTON -- Many of the players on the 2022 Worthington Trojans girls tennis team will be playing new positions this fall. There’s a learning curve associated with that, but players won’t need to learn from scratch.
“It’s more about strategy,” said head coach Mike Marquardt on the first day of formal practice Monday morning. “Right now we have girls who can handle the ball, they can hit all the shots, they can aim or place the ball really well. Basically, we can focus on the other side of the net and not on our side of the net.
“My strategy is I want them to play their way. And some of them are going to have to find what their strategy is.”
Because several of the Trojans are switching from doubles to singles, there’s still some learning to be done. In some ways, singles is an entirely different kind of tennis.
“I think we lost seven or eight from last year. Two years ago we lost all our doubles players. Now this year almost all our singles players are doubles players from last year. That’s just the way it goes,” said the coach.
Seven of the top performers are seniors, led by Ivy Jenson who played No. 2 singles in 2021. Still recovering from a knee injury sustained last year, she has been stationary hitting until she can regain her movement in two or more weeks. When she’s healthy, Jenson is a high-energy, disciplined player who possesses every shot.
Other seniors include Taya Oberloh, Taylor Nordseth, Brooke Nordseth, Riley Nickel, Bryn Donkersloot and Savannah Rodriguez.
Oberloh, an experienced point-finisher, will move from No. 1 doubles to singles. Taylor Nordseth is also switching from doubles to singles. She’s an aggressive and consistent player as is her twin sister Brooke, who contrasts with her sister by the fact that she’s left-handed.
Nickel, who played a lot of No. 3 doubles last fall, is another player getting familiar with the singles game. While working on her consistency, she’s already demonstrated fearlessness in going after her shots.
Donkersloot and Rodriguez, who are already experienced with doubles, will continue working on their games. Donkersloot, notes Marquardt, moves well around the court and Rodriguez is “always at 100 percent and complements anyone she plays with.”
Sophomores Hannah McNab and Taylor Michelson are also expected to see varsity action.
Worthington’s first regular season match is Friday at Lac qui Parle Valley. The first home meet is Aug. 23 against Waseca.
Marquardt is setting his goals high.
“I think the girls really liked last year and how it worked out,” he said. “They had a lot of success, and I think getting back to that level is going to be the greatest challenge.”
Earlier in the year the Trojans will work on consistency in singles, with an eye toward cashing in on their opportunities by putting pressure on opponents as opposed to merely getting the ball to the other side. In doubles play, aggressiveness is the watchword, especially when opportunities show themselves at the net.