Netters third at sectional
The Raider girls' tennis team had a strong showing at Thursday's WIAA Division 1 sectional in Marshfield but came up just short in its bid to qualify for the state team tournament.
Senior Julia Johnson did, however, earn a return trip to this week's state individual tournament at the No. 1 singles position. Johnson, 23-2 this season, will face three-time state qualifier Lauren Piotrowski (14-5) of Greendale in the first round Thursday at 4:30 p.m. at Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison.
Morgan Van Allen won the sectional title at No. 4 singles and no Raider finished lower than third in her respective flight. Hudson finished with 27 total points from the subsectional and sectional to place third in the 18-team field. Marshfield won the sectional title with 30 points followed by Eau Claire Memorial with 29.
"Coach Carol Szyman and I thought the lineup we put together for subsectionals gave us the best chance as a team to possibly make it to state," head coach Dave Dahl said. "The whole team gave it a great effort, but we came up just short."
Johnson won her first sectional match, 6-3, 6-1 over a player from Merrill to clinch her second straight trip to state. She went on to lose 6-0, 6-1 to Marshfield before picking up a forfeit over Wausau West to finish third at No. 1 singles.
"It's nice to see Julia earn her way back to Madison for the individual tournament," Dahl said. "She's had a fantastic senior season and we're hoping she can top it off with more success at the state level."
Van Allen defeated Marshfield's No. 4 singles player 6-2, 6-4, then defeated Wausau West 6-1, 6-1 to earn first place.
"Morgan Van Allen was outstanding in winning the sectional championship in 4 singles," Dahl said. "With 18 schools involved, it's pretty tough to win a flight, but Morgan really took it to her opponents.
Buechler lost her first match at No. 2 singles, 6-1, 6-2, to Merrill before picking up a forfeit from D.C. Everest to capture third place.
"Nicole was not 100 percent healthy in Marshfield, but she gave what she could," Dahl said, noting Van Allen and Buechler both finished the season with 24 wins.
Karras lost 5-7, 6-3, 4-6 to Marshfield before earning a forfeit over Lakeland to finish third at No. 3 singles.
"Morgan played very well against Marshfield in a match that could have gone either way," Dahl said.
Playing both doubles and singles this season, Karras finished with 21 wins.
Nicole and the two Morgans will certainly be the core of what we hope will be a string team again next season," Dahl said.