BY MURRAY GLEFFE
MADISON- The Ashwaubenon Jaguars and De Pere Redbirds were well represented down at the WIAA State girl’s tennis tournament. (Oct. 11)
The Jaguars number one singles player Marisa Marohl faced a familiar foe in the first round in Hailey Munz of Monona Grove.
Munz, the reigning Division 1 doubles champion, had lost only one game to Marohl earlier in the season, at the Oconomowoc Invitational.
This match took on a different tone.
Munz cruised through the opening set without dropping a game largely due to the fact that Marohl threw in seven double faults and couldn’t capitalize on five game point opportunities.
At 2-1 in the second set, Marohl started getting her serves in and hung with Munz from the back court.
Munz started overhitting and pressing and that’s when the Jaguars top player took advantage.
She held each of her next three service games to even the match at four apiece.
Despite facing three match points in the 10th game, Marohl kept grinding and found ways to win points in long ralleys.
At 5-6, Munz finally broke Marohl to win the match. (6-0, 7-5)
“I was a little nervous to start the match because I had just played her (Hailey) a few weeks ago and didn’t do well,” said Marohl. “Once I got into the second set, I played a lot better and started getting more confident as the match went on. I was really happy at how I played in the final set despite not winning. I got to experience State and now I am ready to work in the offseason to prepare for my final year of high school tennis.”
The number one doubles team of Maddy Coopmans and Caylee Behnke made the state tournament on a special qualifier from the WIAA committee.
The duo faced off against Camille Vadas and Sophie Knigge of Madison West in the opening round.
At 1-4 in the opening set, Behnke ripped two forehand winners down the line to get a hold for the Jaguars.
The Regents pair won the next four points with deft volleys to win the opening set 6-2.
In the second set, Maddy Coopmans used a couple of sharp angles to generate back to back points to cut Madison West’s lead to 2-4, but the Regents overheads and serves were just too much down the stretch as they captured the match. (6-2,6-2)
The De Pere Redbirds tandem of Tristyn Lueck and Audrey Ochsner hit the courts versus Ellie Mirsberger and Kaitlyn Burns of Franklin.
The pair started the match in style by hitting a lot of midrange short shots, that their Sabres’ opponents were unable to get to.
At 1-4, Lueck used her powerful out-wide serve to generate service aces to bring the Redbirds a step closer, but the Sabres closed out set number one 6-2.
Set number two was much closer than the final score indicated as four of the eight games went to deuce.
At 1-5 in the final set, Ochsner’s net game provided a huge lift to enable the Redbirds to get one final hold of serve.
Franklin’s overall ability and athleticism proved too much as they went onto win the match. (6-2, 6-2)
“The girls commented that their favorite part was having six of their classmates down at Nielsen to support them,” said Renee Butrym, De Pere assistant tennis coach. “They are only sophomores, so the future is super bright for these two girls and we hope to get them back the next two years.”