It wasn’t always easy or the smoothest, but the Litchfield girls tennis team stayed perfect on the season record-wise by beating Annandale 6-1 Thursday.
The tennis season is broken into two parts, according to head coach Matt Draeger — before and after Labor Day. That schedule usually gives players extra time off before the holiday, followed by the busier leg of the rest of the season. Draeger likes to give the players more rest early in the season, then come in and practice hard after that.
It was a tough time getting a practice together last week before the match because of the nasty weather that came about. It showed on the tennis court Thursday. Although they won handily, there were still areas of play that Draeger viewed as rusty from the layoff.
“I didn’t think we were sharp all the way through,” Draeger said. “I thought we competed, I thought we battled back and came from behind in some matches. But Annandale is also very well coached and they change things up on you and force you into mistakes. We’ve just got to be a little sharper, then I think we’ll be OK.”
The team is nowhere where it expects to be at this point in the season. The Dragons have dominated every match this season, but they have higher goals.
The only way to get rid of the rust is to hit the practice court, Draeger said. Litchfield’s tennis team has the benefit of practice because the players get to practice against quality teammates who help raise each other’s skill.
They knew that this wasn’t the most dominating outing this year, but it was good considering that they haven’t played in almost a week and came out and won 6-1.
Every team has had to deal with the same problems that Litchfield has so far this season. There are six matches left in the regular season and a good mix of opponents for the girls to test their skills against. The goals are still high for this team, and though they looked rusty Thursday, they are still going to bring it each match to reach the next level and that starts on the practice court.
“I don’t want to sound negative,” Draeger said. “We still beat a good Annandale team 6-1 and we’re real happy and thrilled about that. But we also have to know that we got some areas to improve on and we’ll get after that in practice tomorrow.”
Litchfield 6, Annandale 1 (Sep. 10)
Singles — 1. Avery Stilwell (L) over Jennah Groth 6-2, 6-1; 2. Ryanna Steinahus (L) over Olivia Honsey 6-1, 6-2; 3. Faith Simon (A) over Karlee Prahl 6-3, 6-2; 4. Janessa Olson (L) over Mackenzie Adams 6-0, 6-1
Doubles — 1. Britney Prahl/Kylie Michels (L) over Jillian Kulm/Ella Yeager 6-1, 7-5; 2. Kelsey Ballard/Emma DeWolf (L) over Rilee Norgen/Kate Jonas 6-0, 7-5; 3. Taylor Draeger/Sydney Jackman (L) over Josie Hillestad/Alicia Langbehn 6-3, 6-0