Every time the Warrior tennis team heads to Nielsen Tennis Stadium, the stakes are high.
This time, Waunakee began their postseason on Monday, competing in Subsectionals in Madison, hoping to extend their season.
WIAA Madison Memorial Subsectional
Two Waunakee flights earned victories on Monday: Trista Ripp and Sara Sowinski at No. 1 doubles and Danielle Rogers and Jadyn Statz at No. 3 doubles. Ripp and Sowinski defeated their opponents – Aimee Maasch and Haley Greenheck of Sauk Prairie – 6-3, 6-3 to move onto Thursday’s Sectional contest.
“Both Trista and Sara and Danielle and Jadyn were good at playing good attacking doubles, even when some teams tried to slow us down by throwing up a lot of lobs to get us off the net,” said Waunakee’s Head Coach Chris Nuenthel. “We got out of our comfort zone a few times, but both teams adjusted and were patient to find those opportunities to attack.”
Rogers and Statz also squared off against a Sauk Prairie opponent: Emily Querio and Grace Fauerbach. After controlling the first set, Waunakee’s No. 3 doubles tandem struggled in the second, allowing the Eagles pair to rebound and win 7-5, forcing a third set. Once in the third, Waunakee regained control, winning 6-2 to advance.
The remainder of Waunakee’s lineup ran into tough competition, all of which came from the Big 8 conference. Alexis Loomans played in the closest match of the day for the Warriors, falling in three sets against her Madison West opponent at No. 4 doubles.
The Warriors’ top three competitors at singles – Jena Opsahl at No. 1 singles, Gretchen Lee at No. 2 singles and Alli Larsen at No. 3 singles – each fell to their opponents in two sets; Opsahl against Verona, Lee and Larsen to Middleton foes.
At No. 2 doubles, Julia Zabel and Eliza Endres dropped their match against Madison West, also in two sets.
For Waunakee’s No. 1 and No. 3 doubles teams, however, the season continues. Both Ripp and Sowinski as well as Rogers and Statz will return to Nielsen Tennis Stadium on Thursday to play at sectionals. Should Ripp and Sowinski place in the top four, they’ll earn an automatic bid to next week’s WIAA State Tournament.
“I think both teams just need a lot of practice/reminders about basic doubles play,” Nuenthel said of the team’s focus heading into sectionals. “We got out of position a few times or went for silly shots in our matches and gave up some free points we can’t afford at sectionals. Especially for Trista and Sara, being fundamentally sound in strategy but aggressive in play will be key.”
Start time at Nielsen Tennis Stadium on Thursday is scheduled for 9 a.m.