RCS Girls' Tennis News
2012 Raider Girls' Tennis News
Sioux Falls O'Gorman Makes A Statement at the RC Invite
Thursday, August 30th
The five time defending state champion Sioux Falls O'Gorman Knights answered any critics' questions about their ability to defend their title by dominating the Rapid City Invite on August 24-25 followed by a 9-0 sweep of #3 rated Sioux Falls Roosevelt on Wednesday, August 29. The Knights won all 9 flights on their way to a perfect team score. "We played them pretty tough on Thursday, but they made a statement today," said Raider Coach Jason Olson.
On Thursday, August 23 the Raiders lost 7-2 to the Knights, but the match was much closer than the score. The Raiders lost two close doubles matches and a few of the singles matches could have gone the other way. (see results page for scores) The 2nd ranked Raiders finished a distant 2nd place followed by a strong St. Thomas More team who came in 3rd. The Raiders took 2nd in 8 of the 9 flights. "They are so deep. I think their 2nd team came in 4th," added Olson. O'Gorman coach, Don Barnes was happy about the performance of his team, but he will not allow his team to get complacent.“If I said we didn’t have a good day that’d be a lie,” O’Gorman head coach Don Barnes said. “We played really well. But it wasn’t as easy as it looks. Stevens is a very good team, and they battled us tooth and nail.”
The Raiders Sydney Moyle defeated Morgan Brower for the first time on Thursday, but Brower came back to defeat Moyle in the finals on Saturday. Brower was happy with the win, but knows that there is still a lot of tennis to play. “I look at it as another opportunity for a good match. We don’t get a bunch of those, so I like playing her,” Brower said. “It’s good competition. I think the conditions were a lot better, and we both played a lot cleaner tennis.”
The Raiders may have been a little flat on Saturday and Coach Olson took responsibility for that. “We have to compete and be mentally tougher. I think part of that has to do with conditioning,” Stevens head coach Jason Olson said. “That’s my fault. I have to get the kids in better shape, because we looked a little tired today, both mentally and physically. I think a couple of our girls don’t realize that it’s never over until it’s over, and you’ve got to keep playing no matter what the score is.”
2012 Raider Tennis Preview
Monday, August 13th, 2012
The 2011 Raiders came within an eyelash of capturing the state title that has eluded them the last five years. The 2012 team should be strong as they return four of their top players, but without sophomore Lindsey Tibbles overtaking the SF O'Gorman Knights will be extremely difficult. "Lindsey is a great player and we hope she will come out after her USTA National Tournaments, but as of now we are making plans as if she is not playing," said Coach Jason Olson. Seniors Sydney Moyle and Taylor Messinger are two of the top players in the state and the history of the Raider tennis program. Moyle is 22 wins away from becoming the All-Time leader in singles wins. "We are so lucky to have Syd and Tay back. Sydney has meant so much to our program. She has had an unbelievable career. Taylor had a great junior year and is such a competitor. If these two play the way they can, we should be very strong," added Olson. Other returnees off of the 2011 varsity team are senior Kate Salkowski and junior Kristina Hammerquist. Coach Olson expects Hammerquist and Salkowski to improve on their 2011 season.
The five and six singles and three doubles spots are open right now and Coach Jason Olson expects a lot of competition for those spots. "We have a ton girls who are vying for the final few varsity spots. Hopefully, we will have a few girls step up. We are going to need to be successful at 5, 6, and 3 doubles." Sarah Kelly, Stephanie Griffith, and Abby Ellison are considered favorites to claim the final few spots, but there are many others who have stepped up their games in the off-season. Coach Olson expects sophomores Harmoni Bahr and Kayla Gill, freshmen Kimberley Christopher, Kaitlyn Sedevie, and Alisha Weidmeier, and 8th graders Halie VanderWerff and Annika Hammerquist all to be in the mix. "A lot of girls have really improved their games in the off-season. I have been happy with the progress of many of our girls, but I am interested to see how they respond to the pressure. It should be fun," expressed Olson.
The 2012 Raiders kick off their season in Yankton on Friday and Saturday, August 17-18. The Raiders will play Watertown and Yankton on Friday and Vermillion on Saturday.
2011 Raider Girls' Tennis News
Sunday, Sept 4, 2011
Although the Raiders were ranked 1st in the pre-season rankings, they are clearly still a step behind the SFO Knights. This was evident last weekend at the RC Invite where the Knights took home the team title while winning six of the nine flights. The Knights who have now won 96 matches in a row also soundly defeated the #4 ranked St. Thomas Cavs 8-1 in a dual at the RC Inv. Since then, SFO has defeated Watertown and #5 ranked Aberdeen Central 9-0. "They are a very good team," said Raider Coach Jason Olson, "but hopefully we will compete a little better against them the next time we see them." The Knights are now 9 wins away from breaking the Raiders 105 match winning streak.
When the rankings come out next week, Olson expect to be #2 but realizes there are plenty of other good teams that have closed the gap on the Raiders. "We play SFR the night before we play SFO. That is two tough matches in a row. Coach Groves has a very strong and young team this year. His top girls really improved and put a ton of time on the courts in the off-season," expressed Olson. The Raiders travel east Sept 9-10 and will play SFR and Brandon Valley on Friday, Sept 9 followed by a tough Saturday against soon to be ranked #1 SFO and a well coached SF Lincoln team.
The Raiders have had a week off since competing in the RC Invite although their JV had two strong showing against two varsity teams. The Raiders JV traveled to Gillette on Sept 1 and came home with a 6-3 win followed by a 9-0 win over the Spartans in Spearfish on Saturday, Sept 3. Results are on the schedule page.
Wed, August 10, 2011
The first match of the 2011 girls' tennis season is right around the corner but the 2011 Raider tennis team has a lot of work to do before they play their first matches on Friday and Saturday, August 19-20. Tennis practices began on Monday, August 8 across the state. A new season brings change and hope and the Raiders are hoping to improve upon their fourth straight 2nd place finish. "We hope to be able to compete with SF O'Gorman and the other top teams this year. On paper, we should be pretty good, but we have a lot of work to do," said Raider Coach Jason Olson. Improving during the season is something that the Raiders have been able to do the last few seasons and Coach Olson attributes this to team chemistry.
Team chemistry is something that changes every year because players come and go. The 2011 Raiders will lose a few players but only one varsity player. Coach Olson feels it will be a big loss. "Losing Cassie (Malik) is huge. She was around for so many years and was such a strong player, but what we will really miss is her personality. She meant so much to our team chemistry. I hope the girls learned from her and from last year and realize that being a team is very important," expressed Coach Olson. The Raiders spend a lot of time together during the short but exhausting fall girls' tennis season. "When I played for the Raiders, doing all of the team activities brought us closer together as a team. It was fun, but very important," said former player and now assistant coach, Morgan Paluch.
The 2011 Raider return 5 of the six varsity players from the runner-up 2010 team. Olson sees SF O'Gorman as the top team again after the addition of two new players from Iowa, but he also feels that St. Thomas More, SF Roosevelt, and Aberdeen Central will be contenders. "St. Thomas More will be very deep....SF Roosevelt's kids put in a lot of time and Aberdeen Central has some very strong players. All of these teams will be very good," said Coach Olson. Olson also feels that Yankton, Watertown, and SF Lincoln will be contenders.
"We have a lot of work to do," said Raider senior, Lexie Hammerquist. "We had a great year in 2010, but we want to do better this year!" Being better will depend upon how the Raider come together as a team.
2010 Raider Girls' News
2010 Raiders Girls Make a Remarkable Run at the Title!
It is tough when you lose a few great players to graduation but that is the nature of the sport. Kids come and go and coaches try to figure out what will work year and year out, but the 2010 Raider girls' tennis team suffered an unexpected loss before the season barely even started. "We had a player who was a senior and a 4 year varsity player with two state championships under her belt that decided to not continue with the team after our first trip to Yankton," said Coach Jason Olson. This was unexpected and appeared to be a major blow to a team that had hopes of challenging the defending champions SF O'Gorman Knights. After all they had nearly upset them in the 2009 State Tournament and they returned five girls off of that team and added one of the most talented players in the state in 8th grader Lindsey Tibbles.
Things looked bleak for the Raiders at first as they struggled to figure out their line-up as girls adjusted to their new spots and new doubles partners. Their first blow to their title chances appeared to come when SF O'Gorman defeated them in 8 of 9 matches at the RC Invite with Taylor Messinger winning the flight 3 singles. Coach Olson saw something. "I really liked what I saw from our team. They really came together and bonded. Even though we struggled head to head against OG in the Invite, I thought we made some strides." As the season went on, the Raiders became even stronger on and off the court. Cassie Malik, a six year varsity player and the only senior in the top six took over the leadership of the team. "I wanted my senior year to be fun and I was going to make sure our team became stronger!" Coach Olson could not have been prouder of his senior. "Cassie could have given up. She lost her doubles partner and probably the chance to win state, but she really showed me something. She organized team events and really bonded our team together!"
As the season continued the Raider started to roll and came in to their next head to head with SF O'Gorman with a 9-0 record. Even though they suffered their first dual loss 9-0, the team was much more competitive. The Raider girls confidence grew and even though they lost 7-2 to the Knights in the GDC in late September, they felt they had closed the gap between the two powerhouses. "We all started to believe!" said sophomore and #1 player Sydney Moyle. And that they did as they entered the 2010 State Tournament with a 27-2 record.
As the tournament began on day 1, the Raiders were on a mission. They won all nine of their 2nd round matches to advance to the quarter finals. On day 2 the Raider battled and all singles players advanced to the semis and all three doubles teams reached the finals where they would meet their rivals from SF O'Gorman. Saturday was going to be a showdown between the Raiders and Knights once again, but mother nature threw a wrench into the tournament by sending the tournament indoors. "Our girls were determined and nothing including the weather was going to bother us," said Coach Olson. The Raiders got a huge semi final win by Lindsey Tibbles when she defeated her opponent from SF O'Gorman. The Knights rebounded after Meg Townsend defeated Cassie Malik in a hard fought flight 2 semi final. Each team advanced five girls to the finals which meant the Raiders and Knights would be playing each other in 7 of the 9 finals.
The Raider held a slight advantage after winning four of the six finals and 3 of the 4 against SF O'Gorman, but Sydney Moyle's victory at #1 singles over Hannah Vandermark was enormous. Coach Olson expressed, "I knew Sydney would not be denied this time. She had lost so many matches to Hannah over the years but this time Syd refused to lose!" Lindsey Tibbles continued her strong play with a three set victory over her opponent from Aberdeen Central in the flight 4 finals. The Hammerquist sisters, Lexie and Tina defeated their opponents from O'Gorman in flights five and six. Those wins along with a 3rd place finish from Cassie Malik gave the Raiders a slim lead going into the doubles' finals.
The Knights regained a slight lead when they defeated Malik and Tina Hammerquist in the #2 finals, but the Raider regained the lead for a moment after Tibbles and Lexie Hammerquist won the flight 3 finals. It was short lived as the Knights captured the state title by winning a hard fought #1 final over Moyle and Messinger. "It came down to one match. Wow...I am so proud of what these girls accomplished and how they did it. What a great bunch of players. Sometimes that old saying of things happen for reason is true. We became a way better team on and off the court this year. Words can not say what I feel for these special young ladies. I am really looking forward to 2011!" said an exhausted Coach Olson a few moments after the season was over.
2008 Raiders Take 2nd at RC Invitational
Monday, September 2nd
The Raiders knew that SF O'Gorman was going to be the team to beat in the 2008 RC Invitational, but they had no idea things would go as they did. The defending state champions finished with 276 points followed by the Raiders who ended up with 231 points. "Coming in I thought we would get second. I felt OG would dominate, but I didn't realize we would be able to come as close as we did," stated Raider Coach, Jason Olson. "I was pleasantly surprised on how well we played!"
O'Gorman won six titles and reached all nine finals just as they did at the 2007 state tournament. The Raiders reached eight finals and won three including Lauren Shultz's flight one victory over Theresa Petrasko, the defending flight 1 champion. "Lauren played very smart. Neither girl played their best, but Lauren is so mentally tough that she found a way to win!" added Coach Olson. "My serve was on today and I won a lot of points off of it." said Shultz who defeated Petrasko for the first time in her career. The Raiders other singles championship came at flight 5 where Kelly Feehan defeated Chandler Nielsen from SFO 10-5. "Kelly is so smart. She knew what was working and stuck to her game plan." said Olson. Feehan was also the flight 6 RC Invitational and state champion in 2007.
The Knights took two of the three doubles flights with the Raider lone win coming at flight 3 where Sydney Moyle and Kelsie Dubon surprised Chandler Nielsen and Katie Schwebach 10-6. Doubles is always the key and for the Raiders to challenge Sioux Falls O'Gorman their doubles play must improve. The Raiders #1 team of Lauren Shultz and Morgan Paluch were upset Friday in the first round by Gillette, a team they had beaten 10-1 earlier on the day. At #2 doubles, the the team of Cassie Malik and Kelly Feehan were no match for the #2 O'Gorman team of Hannah Vandemark and Erin Hoffman losing 10-4.
The Raiders JV team was also in action over the weekend and although the JV teams from SFO might have been slightly favored after giving the Raiders JV team their only losses in 2007, the Raiders did quite well capturing five of the nine titles. "I was really proud of how well our JV kids did last weekend. It started off when our #1 JV team defeated SFO's #1 JV team 5-4 on Friday and our #2 team defeated their #2 team 9-0." said Coach Olson. The Raiders also defeated Sheridan's JVs 7-2.
The Raiders JV team might have done even better in the tournament, but the Raiders who had three JV teams in the tournament did not stack their #1 team. "We could have stacked our Blue team with the top six JV players, but I wanted them all to get some tough competition." added Olson. Players were placed on Blue, Silver, and White teams. "All of the players on all of our teams did very well!" expressed Assistant Coach Jeff Richardt.
Tournament champions were Kate Salkowski and Alyssa Mastel at #3 doubles, Taylor Messinger at #1 singles, Lexie Hammerquist at #3 singles, Amanda Przymus at #4 singles, and Alyssa Mastel at #6 singles.
See schedule for results (Click on link)
2008 Season Preview
August 15th, 2008
The Raiders started practice on August 11th and have about thirty girls out for tennis. After losing only three seniors, the out look for 2008 looks bright, but the Raiders will be without junior, Kaitlyn Wright who is out with an injury and hopes to return in 2009. The Raiders lost to only SF O'Gorman in 2007 and the JV went 26-2. "We should have a very strong young and experienced JV this year," said Raider coach, Jason Olson. "We have a lot of 8th and 9th graders who put in a lot of time this summer and our upper-classmen are very strong."
The varsity should also be strong after taking 2nd in 2007 and returning their entire line-up for 2008. The Raiders were looking to regain the state championship from SF O'Gorman, who also returns their entire line-up, but a season-ending injury to junior, Kaitlyn Wright will give the 2008 Raiders a new look. "We are still going to be a good team, but losing Kaitlyn will make it tough to challenge O'Gorman," said Raider Coach Jason Olson. "Kaitlyn and Lauren (Shultz) put in a ton of time and were really pumped to to try to improve on the 3rd place at #1 doubles!" Now the Raiders are looking at new team at each spot in doubles where they thought they had a chance to sweep all three flights. "Doubles is always the key at state and although we have to move things around, we will still have solid teams," added Olson. As of now, seniors Lauren Shultz and Morgan Paluch are playing #1 doubles. Sophomores Cassie Malik and Kelly Feehan who took 3rd in 2007 at #3 have moved to #2 doubles. 8th grader Sydney Moyle has moved to #3 doubles and is teamed up with freshmen Kelsie Dubon.
The Raiders return six singles players and have one of the best players in the state in Lauren Shultz who Olson believes can improve on her 3rd place finish at #1 singles. They also return their #2 player, Morgan Paluch, who missed most of 2007 with an injury. Sydney Moyle has jumped from #5 in 2007 to #3 and Cassie Malik, who put in a lot of time in the off-season will play #4 again looking to improve on her 3rd place finish. The Raiders lone state champion in 2007, Kelly Feehan has moved from #6 to #5 in 2008. Kelsie Dubon who filled in for Paluch at #2 last season is playing #6. "I really believe our singles line-up will do well. We just need to improve, get in better shape, and become a little more patient." said senior Morgan Paluch.
Past RCS Girls' Tennis News
2007 Season Preview
The 2007 Raiders girls' tennis team lost quite a bit of talent from their 2006 State Championship team, but they are still expected to be one of the top teams in the state. The Raiders lost four players who lettered off their Three-Peat state championship team. Whitney Paluch, the All-time leader in singles wins in South Dakota history, graduated and is now attending Cal State at Northridge. Fiorina Oddo, the number two player in Stevens history is at SD Tech, and Taylor Stuck and Liz Doyle are attending Montana State.
"We will really miss Whit, Fiorina, Tay, and Liz!" said Coach Jason Olson, "but we return very strong and experienced players." Olson is talking about Lauren Shultz (2nd at Flight 3 Singles), Kaitlyn Wright (3rd at Flight 4 Singles), Morgan Paluch (2nd at Flight 5 Singles), Cassie Malik (Flight 6 Champion), and Kelly Feehan (lettered in 2007 and played many varsity matches, 9-1 at Flight 2 Doubles w/ Kaitlyn Wright). The Raiders also have added a few new players that will have a shot at making varsity. 7th grader Sydney Moyle who has a brother (Gib) on the boys' team will push hard for a varsity spot and Abby Fischer, a junior transfer from RC Christian, will also help the Raiders. Kelsie Dubon, an 8th grader who played 9 on last years strong JV program, also has a strong shot at varsity. "We will have a lot of players pushing the returnees for a spot in the top 6. Sydney, Abby, and Kelsie are probably the strongest right now, but we a few other girls that really worked hard this summer that also have a chance. I think this will be one the strongest JV teams we have had in a few years. It's going to be an exciting year." expressed Coach Olson.
No one across the state feels sorry for the Raiders losses, but the entire state lost a ton of talented players in 2006 with the top teams being hit the hardest. Runner-Up SF O'Gorman lost Jillian Hurley and Merideth Peterson, 3rd place SF Washington lost their top three, Pierre lost their top 4, and Watertown lost their top 2. "In all my years this was probably the year where more top players graduated across the state than any other. Just about everyone lost their top players." said Olson.
Although many of the top teams from 2006 lost a lot, many with still be very strong. Coach Olson thinks SF O'Gorman is the definite favorite in the state and the conference. "SF O'Gorman is probably the most talented team in the state. The Knights could dominate that state for years because they have no upper-classman in their top 12." Olson added that SF Roosevelt and SF Lincoln will also be very strong as they both return most of their 2006 teams. SF Washington lost their top three, but have some very strong young players and could be a top 5 team. Watertown, Aberdeen Central, Pierre, and Yankton are probably the strongest teams in the ESD, but Olson thinks Watertown will come out on top. "One of the ESD teams will probably finish in the top 5 in the state. Scott has down such a great job in Watertown. I think they will start slow, but come on very strong at the end. I think Watertown and Aberdeen Central are two strongest ESD teams. Pierre will also challenge. Jeff lost a ton good players, but he has a good program," added Olson.
2006 End of Year News
The Raider girls captured their third straight state championship in October of 2006 in Rapid City. They were trailing and in second place going into the final day. The Raiders used a strong semi-final performance on Saturday morning to capture their 3 title in row. SF O'Gorman came in second and SF Washington, the team that had broken the Raiders 105 state record match streak in September, came in third followed by Pierre and Watertown. "Going into this year, we knew it was going to be a five team race and nothing changed throughout the year," said Raider Coach, Jason Olson. He added, "Winning 105 in row was great, but people thought we were going to collapse when it finally came to an end. We really didn't worry about losing because we felt it was more important to win in October!"
Winning in October has become a tradition for the Raiders lately and a great deal of this is because of their seniors. "We have been lucky to have good seniors who lead on and off the court!" said Coach Olson. 2006 was no exception. They were led by three outstanding seniors and a group of excellent younger players. Whitney Paluch, Fiorina Oddo, and Taylor Stuck will all graduate in the spring of 2007. Paluch won Flight 1 singles for the 3rd time in her career and paired with Fiorina Oddo to win the #1 doubles title for the second year in row by beating Emily and Brittany Gaster of SF Washington. They defeated the Gasters both times in the final.
Paluch finished her sparkling career with 158 singles wins including 3 state singles titles. She also added 159 doubles wins including 3 state doubles titles. During Whitney's career the Raiders won four team titles. "It will be pretty tough for anyone to beat her records but even tougher to replace her as person. I have been very lucky to coach such an outstanding player and person," expressed Coach Olson. The Raiders will also miss Fiorina Oddo, #2 on the Raiders all-time victories list with 109 singles wins and over 100 doubles wins. "Fiorina was so good and would have been #1 on just any other team in the state. We will really miss her." said Olson. Taylor Stuck, an excellent doubles player and the team leader will also graduate. "You can't measure what Taylor meant to this team. It will be hard to replace her!" said Coach Olson.
The 2007 Raiders will not be without talent as they return 5 of the varsity players off of their 2006 team: Lauren Shultz (2nd at flight 3 singles and 5th at flight 2 doubles), Kaitlyn Wright (3rd at flight 4 singles and 5th at flight 2 doubles), Morgan Paluch (runner up at #5 singles and #3 doubles), Cassie Malik (28-1 and the Flight 6 singles champion. Her match might be considered one of the best finals ever), and Kelly Feehan who played a varsity matches in just about every spot in 2006. "Sure we lost a lot of great players, but we feel very lucky to have such an awesome group of players returning. We will be a lot better than people will expect. Our JV had a great year and many of those players are dedicated to improving." said Coach Olson.
The 2007 season will be very different as more quality seniors graduated than ever before. SF O'Gorman will be the early season favorite with a strong crew returning, but Huron, SFL, SFR, Aberdeen Central, and others including the Raiders will be contenders. "I don't know if there will ever be a better group of players graduating than there is this year. The state was loaded with excellent seniors, but Whitney and Fiorina, Emily and Brittany Gaster were as good as a 1-2 combination as there ever will be!" exclaimed Olson.