The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

August 20, 2013

Let the games begin ...

Dedicated Andrego is ready to lead Cougars

MANKATO — Mankato East junior Libby Andrego can't tell you how many hours she spent on the tennis court this summer, but it was quite a few.

Between working out with the United States Tennis Association program and giving lessons for the YMCA, she has done her due diligence on the court.

Now the question is, will all that practice make her a better player? According to East/Loyola head coach John Romberg, it already has.

"You can see she's stronger and more confident," the second-year coach said. "She's become more aggressive.

"Now she's more willing to step up and take that ball at mid-court and try to do something with it ... to follow it up to the net and shorten the point. That's going to make her a better player."

Romberg knows about Andrego's improvement because he had a ringside seat. He was one of the instructors for the USTA program and watched her game develop over the last few months.

"She seemed to be a lot more dedicated this year," he said. "She was there almost every day and really worked on her game. Last year, she was missing or leaving early because of a softball commitment, but not this year."

Although Andrego never told Romberg that she opted not to play softball with the summer Peppers program this year, that's what she did. She decided with two years left of high school tennis, that was the sport she was going to focus on.

Andrego was East/Loyola's No. 1 singles player last season as a sophomore and will play the same position again this fall. Playing No. 1 in the Big Nine Conference can be daunting, even for upperclassmen, but Romberg said she handled it well.

"She lost some tough matches, but she won some tough matches, too," he said. "She's a fighter; she didn't get down on herself. That's something we can build on."

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