BHS girls’ tennis players happy with season
Like most young teams, Baldwin High School’s girls’ tennis squad improved throughout the season and performed the best at the end.
Coach Justin Hoffman was proud of his team. He said they played well and gave their best effort all season long.
“It was a good year for us,” Hoffman said. “We found out some young players can play well. We got to see some competition we haven’t seen before. It was a good year overall.”
Without any seniors, the Bulldogs were young all around. The final varsity squad consisted of two juniors, three sophomores and one freshman.
Only the two juniors, Kara Protasio and Michaela Krysztof, were returning players from the squad that competed at the Class 4A regional a year ago.
“This season was a lot different for me, because I was so used to the group of senior girls from last year,” Krysztof said. “This year we had to kind of start the varsity from scratch. I think once all us girls got used to playing together and being around each other, we all really hit it off and it was a really good season.”
Protasio was the only Bulldog to compete at the 4A state tournament in Topeka during the weekend. A year ago, she only advanced to the second round of the regional.
This year she went 4-1 at the regional to place fifth. At state, she went 1-1 by winning her final match.
“Kara really played her best tennis at the end of the season,” Hoffman said. “The match she lost is probably the best match I’ve seen her play. The good thing is she isn’t a senior, so she gets that experience and saw how good her competition can be.”
Baldwin’s No. 1 doubles team of sophomore Kara Hoegerl and Krysztof and No. 2 team of sophomore Alison Berg and Hayley Schwartz both lost in their state-qualifying matches at the regional tournament. For Krysztof, it was a tough loss for the third straight year.
“Regionals was really disappointing,” she said. “I have been to regionals every year and I wanted state really bad, but this was my first year of doubles and playing with Kara. So I think in the end, we did all we could and played our hearts out. Next year we know what we need to work on and how to keep going.”
Despite the loss, Krysztof enjoyed the season with her new doubles partner.
“It was so much fun having Kara as my partner,” Krysztof said. “She was hilarious and always kept my head up when I wasn't hitting the shots I wanted. She kept it fun, she worked hard and we had a really good season together.”
The Bulldogs’ other varsity player was freshman Kaitlin Jorgensen. This year marked her first on the tennis court, but she turned heads quickly by winning her first junior varsity tournament. She moved up to varsity and played well all season.
“Kaitlin Jorgensen, being a freshman who had never played before, really performed well throughout the year,” Hoffman said. “She really got better as the year went on.”
Each fall the girls’ tennis season is the shortest in the state. Although it begins on the same day as the other sports, it ends at least one week earlier than the rest. When asked if he would like to see the season extended, Hoffman said the weather would make that decision difficult.
“I think the season is about right, simply because of weather,” Hoffman said. “We really can’t go much longer, without having worse weather than we had.”
Krysztof agreed with her coach.
“By the end of the season it was very cold at the tournaments,” she said. “I think if it was much longer, the weather would have too much of an impact on the players’ performances.”
Although the 2010 season won’t begin for another 10 months, the Bulldogs are expecting a good season next fall.
“Hopefully, next year we all come back with a better knowledge of the game and what we need to work on since we had another year of experience under our belts,” Krysztof said. “I think most of us are planning on playing some in the spring and in leagues throughout the summer.”