The Rhinelander High School girls' tennis team improved to 5-0 in the Great Northern Conference after sweeping Pacelli 7-0 on the road on Tuesday evening. The Hodags won all seven flights in straight sets at Goerke Park in Stevens Point and gives RHS a 10 point advantage over Antigo in the conference standings.
"We knew we had to play well at all positions to maintain our lead in the conference," said Coach Bob Heideman. "And it turned out to be true with Antigo beating Lakeland 7-0. We didn't necessarily play well at all positions but well enough to win."
The Hodags didn't have much trouble on the singles side of action, with the most competitive match being the final match at No. 4 singles. Annika Johnson at the top singles flight cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 win over Amanda Lansing of Pacelli. No. 2 singles player Kenedy Van Zile won 6-0, 6-3 over Amelia Jacoby. And Kaylee Pontell at No. 3 singles breezed her way to a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Allison Lange.
"Kaylee Pontell got us off to a good start with her win, followed by Kenedy Van Zile and Annika Johnson," Heideman said. "Kendey expects a lot out of herself and even in wins is disappointed in her play. It was good to see Annika get back to form after Antigo."
With Goerke Park only having six courts, No. 4 singles match was the last to finish, where Kat Metropulos earned a 6-2, 6-4 win over Julia Storch.
"She (Kat) played tentatively but took advantage of Storch's weakness to win," noted Heideman.
Although Rhinelander's double teams all walked away with straight set wins, they proved to have a more difficult time doing so. The closet match of the evening came at the top doubles flight. The Hodag duo of Alex Oestreich and Jackie Wells would take the first set 6-3 over Marissa Stolt and Ella Schroeder. It appeared RHS would easily take the second after a 4-1 but Pacelli rallied back to to tie the second set 5-5. Wells and Oestreich finished strong and won the final two games to take the match.
"The doubles took longer, Pacelli would win points but had trouble getting enough of them together to win a game," said Heideman. "Jackie and Alex turned what looked like a routine win into a close set. They have done a good job of staying positive through their droughts."
At No. 2 doubles, Lisa White and Kathryn Borski defeated Pacelli's Jenna Stolt and Maya Kunze 6-1, 6-1. And completing the doubles sweep at the third flight was Jaiden Thiel and Izzy Haverkampf who won 6-2, 6-1 over Jayden Hytry and Briar Armatowski.
Rhinelander advanced to 5-0 in GNC duals this season and are 15-7 overall. With only two GNC matches before the conference tournament on Saturday, RHS is in good position to clench sole possession of first place in the standings. The Hodags will look to earn their ninth conference title in the past 10 years. RHS will host Lakeland on Thursday and Wausau Newman on Friday at the RHS tennis courts. Today's dual will begin at 4:30 while Friday's meet will begin at 3:00PM.