Hudson girls tennis

Members of the Hudson girls’ tennis team pose in front of the University of Wisconsin’s Nielsen Tennis Stadium before competing in the WIAA State Team Tournament over the weekend. Pictured in the front row from left are Nicole Hockin, Jenna Simmons, Grace Diedrich, Ava Wilber and Claire Keech. In back row are Grace Lewis, Kira Young, Jordan Yacoub, Helen Vandenbark, Maya Youssef and Bailey Finch. Not pictured are Grace Hanson and Lily Holmberg. Photo courtesy of John Dahl

Hudson girls’ tennis coach John Dahl said the Raiders’ dominating run to the sectional title this season set a new standard for the program, but they didn’t get any love at the state tournament seeding meeting.

The Raiders were seeded eighth for last weekend’s WIAA State Team Tournament in Madison and dropped a 6-1 decision to top-seed and eventual champion Neenah Friday afternoon in the state quarterfinals. But that doesn’t diminish what the team achieved this season.

“This team has reason to be very proud of what they accomplished this year,” Dahl said. “We certainly set a new standard for our program, and I was very pleased with our effort against top-seeded Neenah, who did go on to win the state title.”

Hudson’s lone victory against Neenah came at the No. 3 doubles position, where Nicole Hockin and Jenna Simmons posted a 7-6(5), 6-3 win.

“To put the team on the board early was a big boost for everyone,” Dahl said. “These two were so composed, it looked like they'd played in Madison many times before.”

Hudson’s No. 1 doubles team of Kira Young and Grace Lewis faced Neenah’s Sophia Paape and Shelby Roth for the second time in two weeks after losing to the Neenah duo in the round of 16 at the state individual tournament a week earlier. Dahl said Young and Lewis played the Neenah pair tough in a 6-2, 6-2 loss the second time around.

At No. 2 doubles, Jordan Yacoub and Bailey Finch, who also competed at the state individual tournament the week before, lost 6-0, 6-2 Friday.

“This was a match where it just didn't bounce our way but that was not for lack of effort,” Dahl said. “Jordan and Bailey were an amazing doubles team.”

Dahl said Maya Youssef filled in admirably at No. 1 singles in a 6-1, 6-0 loss while Grace Diedrich played a great match in a 6-1, 6-3 loss at No. 2 singles.

Claire Keech lost 6-0, 6-2 at No. 3 singles and Ava Wilber lost 7-5, 6-3 at No. 4 singles to round out the match.

“I've got nothing but praise for Claire's effort,” Dahl said. “I know her opponent would say it was a very tough match. And Ava played great on the big stage right out of the gate. This was a back and forth match the whole way.”

Dahl said the Raiders did Hudson proud on the biggest stage in the state.

“I'd take this crew anywhere to represent our school and community,” he said.

He also said the senior leaders played a big role in how the team was defined.

“It's going to be hard to top the leadership of this year's seniors - Ava, Bailey, Claire, Jordan and Kira,” he said. “It was a very special season with so many special memories.”

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