The Rhinelander High School girls' tennis team tied for fifth place at the WIAA Division 1 Subsectionals on Monday at Wisconsin Rapids. The Hodags only won two matches on the day, and senior Belinda Weddle was the lone netter to advance to Wednesday's WIAA Sectional in Wausau.
At the top singles flight, Weddle used a 6-3, 6-2 win over Ashley Schultz of Marshfield to advance to the WIAA Division 1 Sectionals.
While Emma Roberts at No. 3 singles was only one match shy of joining teammate Weddle at sectionals. Roberts defeated Zoe Gilmaster of Wisconsin Rapids 6-4, 7-5 but would drop to Lea Ratanawon of Wausau East, 6-1, 6-1.
Dara Stichert of Marshfield defeat Alex Oestriech (6-2, 6-4) at the second singles flight. And Kenedy Van Zile fell 4-6, 2-6 to senior Claire Bizjak of Wausau West.
On the doubles side of actions, Rhinelander had several close sets, but would end up dropping all three flights in straight sets to end their 2017 season. At the top doubles flight Livi Roberts and Haley Seefeldt fell 3-6, 4-6 to Erin Achatz/Kylie Rennie of West.
No. 2 doubles team of Ellie Schuerman/Paige Vruwink of Wisconsin Rapids earned a 5-7, 5-7 win over Rhinelander’s Madi Losch and Alexi Prychalla. And Jackie Wells and Savannah Chartier fell 4-6, 5-7 to Jenna Boeck/Anna Hlavac of Stevents Point.
Wausau West Sectionals
Of Rhinelander's 10 varsity girls', Weddle would be the only member to move on and battle at sectionals on Wednesday morning in the WIAA Division 2 quarterfinal match.
Ending her varsity tennis career, Weddle fell to tough competition and was eliminated only one round away from heading to the 2017 WIAA State Tournament. Top-seed Sierra Auleta of Eau Claire Memorial would sweep Weddle 6-1, 6-0.
The top four players at No. 1 singles at the sectional would advance to state. Auleta went on to finish second in sectionals, falling to undefeated Sabrina Tang of Stevens Point in the championship match. Auleta is also no stranger to the WIAA State tournament, after she advanced to round 32 in 2016 in Division 1 at No. 2 singles.
Weddle would finish her senior season 15-10 at the top singles flight and she went 81-25 in her varsity career. She also was part of two Great Northern Conference championships and she qualified for sectionals all four years.
Rhinelander finished 9-1 in the GNC, but their reign at the top of the conference was put to an end, after Antigo edged the Hodags in the final stretch of their regular season.
The Rhinelander High School girls' tennis team reign at the top of the Great Northern Conference for seven seasons has come to an end. Antigo snapped the Hodags' winning streak on Saturday at the GNC tournament held at the Elleson Tennis Courts and also took home their first ever GNC title. The hot and humid weather approaching the 90's also made the tournament even more difficult.
RHS earned three individual conference titles but was unable to make up the four points they were down entering the tournament, after suffering a 5-2 loss to the Robins on the road. Antigo finished the day with 35 points and Rhinelander followed with 32, and fell by seven overall points in the GNC race.The remaining GNC were as followed; Medford (3rd- 20 points), Lakeland (4th-10 points), Columbus Catholic (5th- 6 points), and Phillips (7th-2 points).
The Hodags' had to start their journey from behind, as the Robins not only had four-point advantage, but earned four No. 1 seeds to start the day. Eventually Antigo advanced to the championship rounds in six of the seven flights.
Despite the odds playing against Rhinelander, there was still an opportunity to make a comeback and a possibility to earn their eighth straight GNC title. In the process, the Hodags would have needed to win five championship matches, but fell short and charted three titles. In singles actions RHS took home two of those championship honors and were runner-up in the other two flights.
Emma Roberts at No. 3 singles and Kenedy Van Zile at No. 4 singles each earned titles for Rhinelander. And the only doubles champions for the Hodags were Madi Losch and Alexis Pyrchalla at the second doubles flight.
Roberts blanked Allison Skrenes of Columbus Catholoc 6-0, 6-0 in the semifinals. And in the championship match, Roberts defeated Ellie Kelly of Antigo 7-5, 6-3 to win the title. While Van Zile used a 6-3, 6-2 win over Medford's Lilly Brost to advance to the championship match. And Van Zile then earned a 7-5, 6-2 straight set win over Avery Nicholson of Antigo for the title. Nicholson also was Van Ziles lone GNC loss of the year.
The final Rhinelander title at No. 2 doubles, Losch and Pyrchalla made a dramatic comeback to steal the show as a third seed. Entering the GNC tournament Pyrchalla/Losch were 0-4 against Antigo and Medford, and turned the tables to defeated both the Robins and Raiders for the title.
Opening with a play-in match, Losch/Pyrchalla downed Trinty Pesko/Kate Chapman of Phillips, 6-2, 6-0. In the semifinals the Hodag duo edged Mandi Baker and Mariah Leader of Medford 7-6 (4), 6-4. And Rhinelander closed the day with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Antigo's Sydney Lenzner and Pia Spychalla to win the No. 2 doubles title.
Rhinelander's chance for a team title ended after falling in the championship matches at No.1 and No. 2 singles. Antigo's Maya Gaetdke defeated Belinda Weddle 6-0, 6-3 in the finals and also earned GNC singles player of the year. To reach the championship match, Weddle rallied back to defeat Riley Curtis of Lakeland in three-sets; 3-6, 6-3, 10-8.
While in the second singles flight, Alex Oestreich earned a 6-2, 6-2 win over Kailee Mann of Medford to advance to the finals. In the championship match, Antigo's Izzy Matuszewski defeated Oestreich 6-0, 6-2.
Rhinelander earned third place in No.1 and No. 3 doubles after both flights fell to Medford in the semifinals and bounced back to win their final matches. Livi Roberts and Haley Seefeldt at the top RHS doubles flight earned a 6-1, 6-2 win over Reilly Coon and Hayley Fieck of Lakeland for the third place match. And Hodags' third doubles flight of Jackie Wells and Savannah Chartier also won their final match.
The Hodags will be back in action for a non-conference dual against D.C. Everest at the RHS Tennis Courts at 4:30PM. Rhinelander will then focus on postseason play and will head to Wisconsin Rapids on Monday, October 2nd for the WIAA subsectionals.
Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified. By Request LLC shall not be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless.