Patriot tennis team looks to build on last season
The Pequot Lakes girls’ tennis team is coming off its best season in program history, and though they parted with a large number of key contributors, coaches and athletes see no reason for that success not to continue.
In 2019, the Patriots finished 25-3 overall, were undefeated in the Mid-State Conference en route to earning their sixth consecutive conference crown, qualified for the state tournament for the first time in team history and ultimately finished fourth.
Head coach Monica Sergent earned her 300th career victory and was named the Section 7A Coach of the Year.
“We had a dream season last year,” Sergent said. “There is no doubt about that. We’re hoping that we can carry that excitement and winning mindset over to this season and build on it.”
However, the team parted with seven seniors from last year’s team, including five starters.
That said, eight letterwinners return to the lineup for the 2020 season, including No. 1 singles player Megan Muller, who finished fourth at state last year as an individual. Other returning letterwinners are Afton Crocker, Morgan Lueck, Carly Chaney, Riley Fogarty, Lexy Peterson, Kelbee Lampi and Quinn Trottier.
Sergent said the team shows “a strong work ethic, positive attitude and team chemistry” and hopes the big-match experience received last season translates to more victories in 2020.
“All of these girls are used to working hard in the offseason,” Sergent said. “They play a little in the winter and a lot in the summer. They are all solid and they have that tournament experience. They will be great leaders, and we should continue to have a pretty solid program.”
Tennis is one of a small number of fall sports currently allowed by the Minnesota State High School League, with the football and volleyball seasons being moved to early spring.
Sergent believes the program has its second-largest roster since she became coach 17 years ago, with 31 girls participating between the middle- and high-school levels. Bolstering the roster are six athletes who typically play volleyball in the fall season.
With that combination of depth, experience and positivity, Sergent and the Patriots have high hopes for success at the end of the season - which makes them even more hopeful that the MSHSL will find a way to conduct some sort of postseason in the midst of the current health crisis.
“I think we should do very well, but you have to take it one step at a time,” she said. “You cannot overlook anyone because everyone else is practicing hard too. We just have to bring our ‘A’ game every match and see where we are at the end of the season.”
Chad Rudbeck and Anna Larson are assistant coaches for the Patriots, while Sean Bengtson and Sage Stangel coach at the middle level.
The Patriots kicked off the season Monday, Aug. 24, against Crosby-Ironton.
Dan Determan may be reached at 218-855-5879 or email@example.com. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Dan.