Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Hannah Gerig is one of only two returning players for the Concordia girls varsity tennis team, which went 7-0 to repeat as SAC champions.
Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Concordia tennis team members give each other high-fives before the start of a recent match against East Noble.
Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Concordia's Hannah Gerig serves the ball during a single's match against East Noble at Concordia Lutheran High School on Monday.
Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Concordia's Hannah Gerig prepares to hit the ball during a single's match against East Noble at Concordia Lutheran High School on Monday.
Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Concordia's Lindsey Sgro watches the ball during a single's match against East Noble at Concordia Lutheran High School on Monday.
Wednesday, May 16, 2018 1:00 am
Girls Tennis Sectional
Cadets had to work to get here
Young team with just 2 returners trying to win sectional again
AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette
After graduating five of seven varsity players, the Concordia girls tennis team didn't know what was to come this season.
The seniors won an SAC and a sectional title, leaving the underclassmen well aware of the hard work it took to achieve such success.
And so they worked.
“We knew we were going to have an interesting year,” junior Hannah Gerig said, “but we've all just put in a lot of really hard work, and we're good friends, too. I like cheering people on from the other courts.
“We really didn't know (who would step up). It was kind of a surprise just this year to see who would really work in practice, who would step up and play the spots. We've had a lot of wins, which is nice.”
The Cadets finished the conference season 7-0 and look to defend the sectional title.
“It was definitely a team effort,” sophomore Lindsey Sgro said. “It was something we didn't expect to have at all. It was a big difference from last year's team, but we came a long way and pulled through.”
Sgro and Gerig are the lone returning members of last year's squad. On the full varsity and 17-player JV roster, the Cadets have two seniors, No. 2 doubles players Caroline Bussick and Lauren Smith, and two juniors, Gerig and Brooklyn Smith, at No. 1 singles.
Also in the varsity lineup is freshman Jadyn Stevens and sophomore Elle Fritcha.
Concordia, the host of the sectional, will face today's winner of the match between Bishop Dwenger and North Side.
The Cadets defeated the Saints 3-2 during the regular season.
“I think it'll take all of our focus and effort that we can give,” Gerig said. “It was 3-2 when we played Dwenger earlier in the season, and when we play them, it'll be another close one.
“If we can keep our effort and focus on just playing as best we can, I think we'll get it.”
Pulling out the conference title gave the team a lot of confidence going forward, but the players are taking nothing for granted.
“(Bishop Dwenger) seems to step up for sectional play. Our players will understand that it will be the case, so they'll be able to make that step up, too,” coach Steve Butz said.
“It's always a battle between the two teams here.”