Raiders girls tennis finishes perfect season

Roseville continues to win in section tournament.

 

 

After more than a month of undefeated play, the Roseville Area High School girls tennis team found itself in a somewhat unfamiliar position Sept. 26 — it only beat East Ridge 5-2.

The Raiders finished the season Sept. 28 with a 7-0 drubbing of Park High School and emerged undefeated, 17-0, alone atop the Suburban East Conference standings.

The Section 4AA tournament kicked off for Roseville Oct. 3, and the girls continued their winning ways in the first round, blanking St. Paul Washington Tech 7-0. 

A quarterfinals match scheduled for Oct. 5 against Totino-Grace was rained out, and with rain in the forecast once again, it was rescheduled at an indoor venue Oct. 6, and Roseville won 7-0.

The Raiders will play in the semifinals Tuesday, Oct. 10, at the Baseline Center on the University of Minnesota campus, against either Mounds View or White Bear Lake. 

Roseville head coach Bruce Hashimoto said he didn’t see this perfect season coming. The team is also coached by assistants Sean Thao, Carly Hayes and John Soler.

“I really did not have any preconceived notions or expectations going into this season,” he said. “I knew we had a talented singles lineup, but our doubles players have produced for us as well as our singles players [have].”

If there was a turning point this fall, it came following the three lopsided victories that opened the season, during a tight Sept. 9 match at Princeton High School against the Tigers.

“I feel the Princeton tournament was when I first realized that we were a really good team,” Hashimoto said. 

He explained that four of his top varsity doubles players, along with some skilled junior varsity players, were taking the ACT test that Saturday, and the team was shorthanded. 

Despite that, the girls rallied, especially the singles players.

“They not only won all three matches, [they] beat a tough and talented Princeton team and didn’t register complaints or whining about their tough assignment,” Hashimoto said. “That was my first inkling we have something special here.”

Hashimoto said the 4-3 victory over Princeton “was good for us,” and that led to the slaying of some old dragons. 

“We beat Stillwater 6-1, Mounds View 6-1 and East Ridge 5-2, teams that we have struggled to beat in the past,” he said.

 

Standouts? The whole team

Asked to name the standouts on the team, Hashimoto demurred.

“Standouts? This is corny, but the whole team,” he said. “We have excellent leadership from our captains, junior Hayley Helberg and senior Sophie Caprella. We have great team spirit and togetherness.”

True to form for an unbeaten team, everyone on the squad had some notable accomplishments this season. Hashimoto said seventh-grader Vunnisa Vu went 20-1 overall on the season and is ranked No. 1 by the United States Tennis Association Northern Region in her age group.

He said eighth-grader Nikki Ridenour went 21-0, has yet to lose a conference match in two years, and was team MVP and all-conference last year.

Helberg is in her second year as captain and went 21-0, Hashimoto said. She’s a past team MVP and has a 4.0 GPA. Surena Vu, Vunnisa’s older sister, went 21-0 and took first place in the Delano tournament.

Junior Anna Park, an assistant captain with a 12-3 record, was most improved player last year, he said. She teamed with senior and assistant captain Rachel Caprella, who had a record of 12-2, to form a tough doubles team. Sophie Caprella, Rachel’s twin and the co-captain, Hashimoto said, provided valuable senior leadership.

Freshman Liv Haugen formed a reliable doubles team with junior Madeline Lange, he said; Lange was 15-2 on the year. Sophomore Toni Kringstad improved her doubles game this season, senior Ashley Olson brought high energy to her first year on the varsity squad and junior Ann Huynh, a doubles player, posted two wins in singles.

On top of all the on-court excellence, Hashimoto pointed out the team does well in class, too; it has an average GPA of 3.84.

 

Mike Munzenrider can be reached at mmunzenrider@lillienews.com or 651-748-7813


 

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