Merrill netters make solid debut in North Invite
The Merrill girls tennis team looks promising right out of the blocks, winning two of three in Saturday’s Eau Claire North Invite. The Bluejays’ only loss came to Eau Claire Regis, a powerhouse team in recent years.
“Our first match was against a very talented Eau Claire Regis team,” MHS coach Janet Thompson said. “They were ranked number 1 in the state last season and were a tough team to face right away in the meet.
“The girls came back strong, however, for the remainder of the matches. We swept all the singles against Superior. Consistency was the theme for all four of those girls. They chased down nearly every shot, no matter where it was on the court.
“Rachel (Bayer) and Frances (Moonen) were also able to win a fair amount of points off their serves with good pace and placement.”
Merrill pulled out 5-2 triumphs over both Superior and Chippewa Falls after falling 7-0 to Regis.
The singles lie-up of Michaela Raleigh (6-4, 6-3), Bayer (6-1, 6-0), Moonen (7-6 (9-7), 6-2 and Katie Nelson (6-1, 6-2) assured the Jays of a win over Superior, and #3 singles duo Alyssa Brewer/Cassy Plachetka (6-4, 6-3) bumped it to 5-2.
The doubles teams of Kayla Sutton/Katie Purmal (3-6, 6-4 (10-7) and Alli Prebeg/Grace Huftel (7-5, 6-4) lost.
Against Falls, Bayer (6-3, 6-4), Raleigh (6-0, 6-2), Nelson (6-0, 6-0) and Brewer (6-1, 7-5) locked up the ‘W.’ the #2 team of Prebeg/Huftel (6-3, 6-0) pushed it to 5-2.
Sutton/Purmal (6-4, 6-1) and Donna Sczygelski/Kayla Ament 4-6, 6-4 (10-6) dropped close matches.
“The singles players were also dominant against Chippewa Falls,” Thompson said. “Katie Nelson did not let her opponent win one game and Michaela Raleigh only gave up two. They both have such solid groundstrokes.
“Two new players – Grace Huftel and Alli Prebeg – showed a lot of promise at the #2 doubles position. Grace has the ability to place the ball strategically, which forces opposing players to hit poor shots and this helps set up Alli to put the ball away and win the point.”
Regis pulled a perfect match by handling singles players Raleigh (6-3, 7-5), Bayer (6-1, 6-1), Moonen (6-2, 6-2) and Ament (7-5, 6-2).
Doubles victories were accomplished over Sutton/Purmal (6-0, 6-2), Plachetka/Huftel (6-0, 6-1) and Sczygelski/Katie Tomalak (6-2, 6-1).