Vikings to graduate five seniors
The North Branch girls tennis team earned the No. 8 seed in the section over the weekend and closed its season on Monday in Section 7AA play with a 7-0 loss to the No. 1 seed Forest Lake on its opponent’s home court.
Head coach Tom McLaughlin said it was a hats-off performance to the Rangers, who will face No. 4-seed Elk River on their quest to state this season.
“They’re a good team, a great team,” McLaughlin said. “I’d call them a tough team if they were mean about it, but they are just talented.”
Junior Janice Elkerton was able to take a game at the No. 1 singles spot from Forest Lake ace Taylor Shortly, while ninth grader Britta Anderson claimed two at the No. 3 singles spot. Also claiming a game apiece in doubles was the No. 1 squad of seniors Grace Rollins and Alyssa Nordberg, who faced the No. 2 doubles team in the section, and ninth graders Ruth Ann Elkerton and Lindsey Belisle at No. 3 doubles.
The Vikings ended with a dual record of 3-15 overall. Despite the losing record, McLaughlin said his team showcased a lot of positives this season.
“They improved a lot; they improved a ton and had a good time doing it,” the head coach said. “They worked hard and never got down, even when they lost.”
The Vikings will graduate five seniors from the squad including the doubles team of Grace Rollins and Alyssa Nordberg. Also graduating are Kaitlyn Johnson, Samantha De Adder and Elizabeth Anderson.
“Oh, we’re going to miss them a ton,” McLaughlin said. “This is our last big senior class for awhile now and they stayed positive, never quit and enjoyed themselves. For Grace and Alyssa, who did play varsity last year, they did what they were supposed to and led. It was just great.”
Going forward, McLaughlin said his team has some things to work on for next year.
“The kids learn how to do things in a drill, and they do them just beautifully,” McLaughlin said. “Now they just need to learn to do them in a match and especially in a close match and not back away from what they’ve learned. It takes awhile before that confidence is there.”