2020 Results: Lost to Elk River 7-0 in Section 7AA Semifinals
Finding the right mix for the Princeton girls’ tennis team will be key to the success of the proud program this year on the courts.
Returning every all of their varsity single players from last year’s line up, they will bring back just one doubles player leaving many spots left ready to be filled.
With all of those open spots left by last year’s graduated seniors, there will be some youth taking over for the Tigers’ squad.
So far into the season, the youth has been up to the challenge of plugging those holes said Princeton Head Coach Kelly Dorr. “Our young kids are working hard and doing everything we are asking of them,” said Dorr, adding that doubles play has been an emphasis during the early season practice to this point in the year.
Senior Lydia Erickson, a returning varsity singles player, has also noticed her younger teammates angling to improve to fill the open roles in doubles. “A lot of them have been putting in the work and get better which is crucial to the team,” she said.
Having been in the position many of the young girls that are expected to compete for the varsity roles, Avery Romann knows encouraging and pushing her underclassmen teammates will pay off for the benefit of the entire team. “Pushing the young kids is probably the best thing for us. When I was young, being pushed by the older kids was what got me to this point,” Romann said, another returner from the varsity lineup.
“It’s important to make them feel like they belong on the varsity team but not to take it easy on them,” added Erickson.
Though returning all from their varsity singles lineup last season, there also may be some new faces serving for the Tigers as Dorr hasn’t ruled out pulling some of those players to help occupy the doubles teams. “It’s a process this year. There will be a lot of flipping and flopping early,” she said.
Jeneva Marcano, the lone player returning that played doubles at the varsity level, knows her coach will have her and the rest of her teammates ready to line up wherever gives the team the best chance to win. “Kelly (Dorr) makes sure we are ready for anything,” she said.
As the team feels its way through the early season, difficult after difficult opponent awaits Princeton.
The Tigers will play Roseville, Andover, and White Bear Lake among other big schools to help prepare the team to be playing their best at the end of the year.
“It’s a mix that you want to get where they have the good competition where they might lose while we have some later on the schedule we know we should be able to win at. We want to push them to reach their potential but we don’t want to crush them with too much,” said Dorr on the scheduling.
Regardless of win or loss in those tough contests, all that matters is that Princeton is getting better and preparing for a postseason run said Dorr. “We are going to focus on controlling what we can do and how we improve. We may not win but are we getting better so at the end of the year, we want to be improved at that point,” she said.
The Tigers’ section will also feature a change, as two more teams in Brainerd and Pequot Lakes will now be possible competition for Princeton bringing the total teams in Section 7AA to 18.
Princeton got an early start to its season, beginning on Aug. 23 with a varsity triangular featuring Roseville and Bloomington Jefferson.