Bluejays top and tie Lumberjacks in season-ending meets
The Bluejay girls tennis closed out another season in last Monday’s WIAA Wausau East Subsectional.
Merrill tied the host Lumberjacks for seventh place in the eight-team event.
“We faced an uphill battle that day because we had many players coming in at low seeds,” MHS coach Janet Thompson said. “That meant that they had to play very tough opponents right out of the gate.”
Katie Nelson pulled off a 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 win at #4 singles to get Merrill points, then was edged 6-1, 7-5. Rachel Bayer lost a 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 three-set match.
Scores–Singles–#1 Michaela Raleigh L 6-0, 6-0; #2 Frances Moonen L 6-1, 6-2; #3 Rachel Bayer L 6-1, 2-6, 6-2; #4 Katie Nelson W 7-6 (7-4), 6-4; L 6-1, 7-5. Doubles–#1 Katie Purmal/Kayla Sutton L 6-0, 6-0; #2 Alli Prebeg/Grace Huftel L 6-1, 6-1; #3 Alissa Brewer/Cassandra Plachetka L 6-3, 6-0.
Even though Merrill lost 4-3 to East in the dual schedule, the Jays topped the Lumberjacks in points in both the dual and overall conference standings.
Nelson ranked third at #4 singles, while Bayer ended up fourth. Michaela Raleigh was the consolation champ, and Frances Moonen and the Alli Prebeg/Grace Huftel duo finished as consolation runners-up.
“That capped off a terrific season for Katie, who had an 11-2 overall record,” Thompson said. “Michaela played especially well in her second match, coming back from a first-set loss to win the second set and come out on top of a very close tie-break at 10-8. Alli and Grace also had a nice comeback. They had lost earlier in the season to this team from East in a very competitive 5-7, 5-7 match, so it was especially nice to prevail this time around.”
The team finished with a 5-9 record despite replacing 8-of-10 starters.
“It was a young team that needed to just get out there and gain competitive experience,” Thompson said. “And they definitely did that! These athletes had great dedication and determination. I saw that shine through during practices and matches all season long. These girls are true competitors and team players. There were many times that I saw players put the team first ahead of themselves. I saw them learn from their mistakes and come back with a stronger desire to work on shots and strategies. The season had lessons and experiences that went beyond a win-loss column.”