CEC tennis refocusing after tough weekThe Cloquet-Esko-Carlton girls tennis team had a difficult Labor Day weekend, falling twice and making Coach Steve Rickstrom think about a return to basics.
By: Jeff Papas, Pine Journal
The Cloquet-Esko-Carlton girls tennis team had a difficult Labor Day weekend, falling twice and making Coach Steve Rickstrom think about a return to basics.
Last Tuesday’s 7-0 loss to Hibbing may have been expected, but still smarted.
“Hibbing has a lot of people returning,” Rickstrom said. “We competed a little bit in the doubles but not so much in the singles.”
The third doubles team of Courtney Ketola and Rosalie Lindquist extended their match to three sets before losing in the best CEC team
“We’re hanging in there,” Rickstrom said. “We’re still competing but we’re not winning.”
The ’Jacks fell 5-2 against Hermantown on Tuesday night as well, playing without Rachel Collier in the lineup.
“We were a bit shorthanded and Rachel not playing was my decision,” Rickstrom said. “We were going to move her to first singles and load up the doubles. It didn’t work out that way.”
Lundquist won at fourth singles, defeating Hermantown’s Stephanie Collins 6-3, 7-6 (7-3). The other CEC team point came at third doubles, where Abby Wangen and Ketola won their match 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.
“I finally had the guts to put those two together,” Rickstrom said. “They are both competitive and want to win so badly. Their groundstrokes need work but they are nice athletes.”
Rickstrom is ready to have his players go back to basics in practice, however.
“We have a bad tendency in our singles to try to hit winners rather than try to be patient with our ground strokes,” he said. “We have to work on that because you can’t hit winners all the time. That’s a matter of getting on a ball machine and hitting 100 balls, and [understanding] that the idea is to rally and practice to develop consistency.”
It’s all about confidence.
“At first and second singles you have to be able to hit a winner but not on every ball,” Rickstrom said. “We need to go backwards, talk about lengthening points and hang around a bit longer.”
Rickstrom has been pleased with Lundquist’s play.
“She’s locked into the lineup now,” he said of the eighth-grader. “She does equally well at singles or doubles, and she’s the one we count on now when we stack the doubles lineup. Right now it’s a matter of keeping the kids from taking a beating at first and second singles to find a match in doubles where they can have fun. First and second singles is a tough place, and we have players working very hard there.”
The team is already halfway through its season, so there isn’t much time – practice or otherwise – to
“That’s for the off-season,” Rickstrom said. “We have three practices this week if the weather holds. But the time to correct things is during the summer, when you can hit against a ball machine for two hours without 30 other girls in line waiting to hit a ball.”