The Free Press, Mankato, MN

October 2, 2013

West girls tennis downs Chaska with revamped lineup

By Jim Rueda
jrueda@mankatofreepress.com

---- — MANKATO — Mankato West senior tennis player Julia Snelson was out of her comfort zone Wednesday, and she couldn't have been happier.

The Scarlets took on Chaska in the semifinals of the Section 2AA, Southern Division Team Tournament where head coach Adam Doll decided to shuffle his lineup for the meet. Snelson, who normally plays No. 2 singles, joined with Andrea Erdman to play first doubles. The duo delivered a straight-set win and West rolled to a 6-1 victory.

"I love playing doubles with Andrea," Snelson said. "We've been playing singles all year so this is fun.

"We play doubles together during the summer but not very often during the high school season. We got more comfortable as the match went on today."

Snelson said the key to making the transition from singles to doubles is to remember the basics first and then build on them.

"You have to remember to hit the ball cross court, to serve wide and to come to the net," she said. "Once you get that down you can start to play your regular game."

Snelson and Erdman ended up winning 6-1, 6-0. The other two doubles teams — Ann Couglan-Melissa Lager and Maddie Mueller-Lia Spencer — also won in straight sets. Spencer also endured a transition of sorts as she normally plays with Emily Smith who was bumped up to first singles Wednesday.

"I thought Maddie and I played pretty well," said the senior Spencer, who is playing fulltime on varsity for the first time this year. "Our communication was good."

Spencer first went out for the tennis team in junior high where she played a lot of doubles with Smith. The two were reunited this year until Doll opted to change things up the last couple of matches.

"It's been fun playing with Emily again," Spencer said. "Overall I've had a really good time this year."

The most competitive match of the day came at second singles where West's Marissa Swenson dropped the first set 7-5 and then came back to win 6-4, (10-2). She and her opponent, Morgan Jensen, were pretty even throughout the match and had a lot of long points.

The Scarlets' Lexi Miller (No. 3 singles) and Lynn Braun (No. 4 singles) had easy straight-set wins. Smith had a tougher time of it at the top spot and wound up losing 6-4, 6-2 to Lauren Willkom.

"We just wanted to try some different things," Doll said. "We were pretty confident we would win today regardless of the lineup so we switched things up a little bit. I think the girls enjoy it."

The win improves West's record to 15-6. The Scarlets now advance to the Section 2AA semifinals where they will crossover and play Chanhassen from the Northern Division.

That tournament starts at 9 a.m., Tuesday at Swanson Tennis Center in St. Peter.