Hudson's boys tennis team didn't let Mother Nature stop it from seeing its first action of the season last weekend, and it didn't let Hastings, Roseville or Apple Valley get in the way of opening the season undefeated.
With the courts in Hastings unplayable due to the lingering winter weather, the Hastings Quad was moved inside to the Apple Valley High School Arena, where four tennis courts replaced the ice surface normally used for hockey, and the tournament was shifted to a doubles only format with four flights consisting of one eight game pro set per match. The Raiders responded by dropping just two matches all day, defeating Apple Valley 3-1, Roseville 4-0, and Hastings, 3-1.
Hudson coach John Knutson said this spring is shaping up to be as difficult a season as he can remember, so it felt good to finally be able to play some matches.
"The most difficult thing so far is not being able to get outside and practice, and already having to cancel a couple outdoor matches because of the snow and ice on the courts and the cold weather," he said. "I couldn't have asked for a better effort from the boys in their first action of the season. They were incredible today. Now, if Mother Nature and the weather will just cooperate so we can get outside to practice."
Knutson said the doubles only format had him juggling the lineup while creating some interesting matchups. Hudson's wins against Apple Valley came from the No. 2 team of Isaac Young and Blake Royer, the No. 3 team of Luke Holmberg and Lukas Johnson and the No. 4 duo of Cole Peters and Jack Geurkink, by identical 8-1 scores while brothers Tyler and Jacob Grosz lost a hard fought 8-5 decision at the No. 1 spot.
Young and Royer moved to the No. 1 position against Roseville and won 8-2 while Holmberg and Jacob Grosz teamed up for an 8-1 win at No. 2. Peers and Geurkink posted an 8-2 win at No. 3 while Brock Wimer and Andrew Bolles won 8-5 at No. 4.
Hudson and Hastings went into the final match of the day both undefeated and after Hastings claimed the No. 3 doubles match Johnson and Royer won 8-3 at No. 4 to tie things up. Holmberg and Jacob Grosz tipped the match in Hudson's favor with an 8-6 win at the No. 1 position before Young and Tyler Grosz sealed things with an 8-4 win at No. 2.
Knutson said he knows the Raiders have an opportunity to be special this season.
"I consistently ask teams I coach, 'What are you willing to give to get what you want?'" the coach said. "That's a really important question and if a team has high aspirations and goals for the year, it's not enough to just talk about, you have to show me and everyone else that your serious about improvement, that you want to learn, that you will do what it takes by putting in the time to get better. These guys have done it, and it showed in our first effort today against three quality Minnesota teams."
Mother Nature has taken a bite out of the bulk of the Raiders' schedule so far this season, including the Big Rivers Conference opener at Menomonie scheduled for Thursday, April 12. That match will be made up Tuesday, May 1.
For now the Raiders are hoping to travel to Madison for the Madison La Follette Quad Saturday, April 14 before hosting Como Park Tuesday, April 17.