BY DAVID PEDERSEN
While the school year just started Tuesday, the tennis team played earlier and often, including a stretch of five events in six days.
The season started with a 7-0 win over Providence Academy Aug. 21.
Winning for Delano in singles was Laura Finn, Kristin Hedtke, Laura Parsons and Amy Max. Claiming victories in doubles was Katie Vatnsdal and Cassy Finn, Allison Sandlass and Tayler Hedtke and Allison Warne and Emily Peterson.
Next came a busy stretch starting with the Delano/Orono tournament Aug. 23. The Tigers won the crown with 37 points, followed by Orono (33), Brainerd, Blaine, Totino-Grace, Staples, South St. Paul and Cambridge.
Laura Finn placed second at No. 1 singles, losing to Mary Swanson from Blaine in a tie-breaker. Kristin Hedtke placed second at No. 2 and Parsons was third at No. 3 singles. Max took the consolation title at No. 4 singles.
In doubles, Sandlass and Cassy Finn paired up at No. 1 to win the tournament, beating Totino-Grace 6-0, 6-3. Warne and Vatnsdal lost in the semi-finals, but came back to place third at No. 2.
Tayler Hedtke teamed with Alex Schreyer to win at No. 3 doubles against Orono 6-0, 6-3. Becca Rumpza and Peterson claimed the title at No. 4 doubles.
“This is the fifth year we have had this tournament and the competition keeps getting tougher,” said Finn. “The girls all played some tough tennis early this season.”
The next day on Aug. 24 the Tigers pulled out a 4-3 victory against state power Breck. Wins came from Parsons at third singles and all three doubles teams. Sandlass played with Cassy Finn, Warne with Vatnsdal and Tayler Hedtke teamed with Peterson.
“The doubles teams really came on strong for this match,” adds the coach. “I told our doubles players that they will be the key to most of our wins this season. Laura and Kristin both knew that they would have a tough match at singles playing against two state-ranked players.”
After the weekend off, Delano traveled to the Brainerd Tournament on Monday, Aug. 27. The Tigers came home with the 30-year-old traveling trophy for the first time in five years. Out of 32 matches combined, Delano only lost two, and they were in tie-breakers.
Winning all their single matches was Laura Finn, Kristin Hedtke, Max and Katie Schlief. Winning in doubles was Vatnsdal and Warne, Tayler Hedtke and Schreyer and Peterson and Rumpza.
In a unique twist in the schedule, Delano played a road double header the next day on Aug. 28. The team started by going to new league member New London-Spicer in the morning and took on Hutchinson on the way home in the afternoon.
“This schedule could have been disastrous, coming off the Monday tournament at Brainerd,” said Finn. “The girls were strong and played some really good tennis.”
In the 7-0 victory over New London-Spicer, winning at singles was Laura Finn, Kristin Hedtke, Parsons and Schlief. The doubles players also won with Sandlass and Cassy Finn, Warne and Katie Vatnsdal and Tayler Hedtke with Peterson.
The same players won at Hutchinson except Ginger Valentine won at No. 4 singles and Tayler Hedtke teamed with Schreyer and Peterson was with Rumpza.
Delano also shutout Litchfield 7-0 last Thursday utilizing the same lineup it had against Hutchinson.
The next home matches are 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7 against section rival Eden Prairie and 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11 against Annandale.