Tennis: Patriots look to continue success in '22
The Patriots finished 27-1 last season
PEQUOT LAKES — The Pequot Lakes Patriot girls tennis team prepares for varsity competition to begin this week, and will sport a somewhat new-look lineup, but the same skills and demeanor that have made the program successful for the better part of a decade.
The Patriots finished their 2021 season with an overall record of 27-1, ultimately falling to Elk River in the Section finals, but not before winning their eighth consecutive Mid-State Conference title.
“I could not have been more pleased with how our season went or more proud of the girls,” head coach Monica Sergent said. “They had to overcome their disappointment with being moved to (Class AA) as well as be prepared to compete, and I thought they did a great job, rising to that challenge, embracing that challenge and putting the best effort out there every day. I believe that positive attitude is going to carry over to this year as well.”
The Patriots lost just five seniors from last year’s stellar season. However, included among those five were Megan Muller – who played at No. 1 singles for four years – and team mainstay Carly Chaney. Both athletes currently play tennis at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
“That will definitely make an impact,” Sergeant said. “All five of them were very skilled players and leaders … but the girls that we currently have playing were also a part of that. They have those good leadership skills, a strong work ethic and that sense of team and camaraderie that makes a season so rewarding.”
Those returning to the team in 2022 will be led by new captains Quinn Trottier, Kelbee Lampi and Payton Mudgett
“They have been in the program since sixth grade and they have years of dedication,” Sergeant said. “They all have varsity match experience, which I think is valuable when it comes to leading your teammates, because they've been in situations that they might need to help other players work through … They are kind to their teammates and they are role models – not just on the court, but in the school.”
Other returning letterwinners include juniors Allyson Yahn, Ellie Ouradnik and Aubrey Wiczek.
Sergent – in her 19th year as coach of the Patriots and with 340 career wins to her name – believes her team can overcome any perceived losses due to graduation and has “excellent chance” to win the Mid-State for the ninth year in a row, and says the Patriots will do their best to contend for the section against the reigning champions.
“I am confident that the girls that were on the varsity last year will rise to the challenge of having to move up in the lineup, and some of the new players will fill in the spots we have. This group, as a whole, worked hard in the offseason, and they are usually rewarded for those efforts.”
The Patriots begin with a triangular in Crosby-Ironton on Thursday, Aug. 18, with their first home triangular occurring the following day.
“I believe we will be very competitive again this year. The girls have put in a lot of work in the off season, so I think we will do well overall. My hope is to have a successful regular season and show improvement every day. This will prepare us for a deep run into the playoffs.”
Chad Rudbeck and Katrina Moody are assistant coaches, while Sean Bengtson and Sage Stangel coach at the middle school level.