Three move on to state tennisThe Raider girls’ tennis team’s No. 1 doubles pair of Casey Fall and Jenny Fassbinder, along with No. 1 singles player Morgan Van Allen, needed to win just one match at last Wednesday’s Stevens Point sectional to qualify for state. Mission accomplished.
By: Bob Burrows, Hudson Star-Observer
The Raider girls’ tennis team’s No. 1 doubles pair of Casey Fall and Jenny Fassbinder, along with No. 1 singles player Morgan Van Allen, needed to win just one match at last Wednesday’s Stevens Point sectional to qualify for state.
Van Allen reached the first flight semifinals, and clinched her trip to state, by winning her quarterfinal match, 6-2, 6-2, against her opponent from Wausau West. She lost her next two matches to eventually finish fourth.
Fall and Fassbinder didn’t stop with their convincing 6-1, 6-1 quarterfinal victory over Marshfield. After splitting the first two sets in the semifinals against Wausau East, 6-4, 6-7, they battled back from a 2-5 deficit to win the third set, 7-5, then disposed of Merrill, 7-5, 6-4, in the championship match.
“Merrill entered the final undefeated and jumped ahead in the first set 4-1, but Casey and Jenny took control from there,” Raider coach Dave Dahl said. “They’ve provided so much excitement this season and I don’t doubt there’s more ahead.”
Dahl said the pair is the first sectional champions at No. 1 doubles in his tenure as Raider coach. They’ll take a 27-4 record into a state-tourney first-round match against Beth Paradisin and Mandy Rice (12-7) of Waunakee Thursday, Oct. 13 at 3:30 p.m.
Van Allen, 14-8 this season, will open state tourney play against Katie Cullen (18-5) of Milwaukee King at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13.
“Morgan won her most important match of the day and I’m thrilled that she gets to finish her senior year on the big tennis stage in Madison,” Dahl said. “She’s given lots of time and energy to this sport and it’s fitting for her to reach this ultimate goal.”
The No. 4 singles flight isn’t eligible for the state tournament, but that didn’t stop Raider sophomore Kelsie Hines from following up her Big Rivers Conference championship from two weeks earlier with a sectional title last week. Hines, who wasn’t even in the starting lineup at the beginning of the season, defeated her Wisconsin Rapids opponent 6-1, 6-1 and her foe from Eau Claire Memorial, 6-3, 6-2, for the title.
“Kelsie definitely earns our most improved player award this year,” Dahl said. “She came out of nowhere to win first the BRC title and now the sectional title. It was an incredible year for this sophomore, who finished with a 22-5 record. It will be nice to have her back for two more seasons.”
The Raiders earned sectional runner-up finishes at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles.
Alex Johnson and Bailey Knight won their first match against Marshfield before losing to Eau Claire Memorial in the finals, and Sydney Squires and Julia Douglas defeated Merrill before losing to Eau Claire Memorial.
“These two (Alex and Bailey) gave it a great effort, but came up just short,” Dahl said. “A 23-8 record is something they should be proud of, but I know they’re disappointed to finish one win away from playing in Madison. These two will be our leaders next season and I know they’ll come back ready to take the next step.”
Dahl said Squires and Douglas, both sophomores, had an amazing run this season.
“Sydney was part of 23 wins and Julia 19,” he said. “Together they were 14-3. This season should really give them some confidence for the future.”
The Raiders finished second as a team in the 18-team sectional. Eau Claire won the title with a total of 51 points and Hudson was second with 36. The next closest finisher was Eau Claire North with 8.
“I’m very proud of our team this season,” Dahl said. “To finish runner-up in the sectional was a nice result. They were a close-knit bunch and should feel good about what they accomplished.”