High expectations surround Bulldogs’ season
Justin Hoffman has high expectations for his Baldwin High School girls’ tennis squad this fall and with good reason, too.
His Bulldogs return all six varsity players from last year’s team and several junior varsity players that nearly made the varsity team a year ago. The Bulldogs have also added foreign exchange student Marie Orthen from Germany.
“Our top eight are pretty strong,” Hoffman said. “There will be some shifting on varsity to help the girls work on parts of their games. Some of them may play some JV matches to work on shots during game situations.”
A year ago, Kara Protasio was the lone state qualifier as a junior. She’s already set high goals for herself this fall.
“I’d like to return to state and play better than last year,” Protasio said. “I’ve got to improve each day and work harder than the day before. I’ve also got to have a good attitude.”
Both BHS doubles teams were one win away from heading to state in 2009. Those players, who all return, are senior Michaela Krysztof, junior Kara Hoegerl, junior Alison Berg and junior Hayley Schwartz.
The Spring Hill teams that defeated the Baldwin doubles teams graduated all four players, so the Bulldogs are aiming high this season.
“We were both one match away,” Krysztof said. “We are hoping to be a bit more on top of that this year.”
The other two players who should see varsity time will be sophomore Kaitlin Jorgensen and junior Deanna Beall. Jorgensen will be playing singles today at the Bulldogs’ opening meet at Topeka-Hayden.
“Realistically, I think all Baldwin entries can go to state this year,” Hoffman said. “I know what’s around and the doubles teams that beat us graduated all four players. I would expect some of our leadership to step up this fall.”
Once the Bulldogs start today, they will have five weeks before their regional tournament. It’s the shortest fall season at BHS. The regional tournament is Oct. 8-9.
“One thing about having a short season is there isn’t time to make major changes,” Hoffman said. “Once we get started, it gets going quickly.”
Although it’s a short season, Krysztof said the Bulldogs will be busy during the next five weeks. They will play two varsity and one junior varsity meets at home this fall.
The Baldwin Invitational is Sept. 15 and the Baldwin Round-Robin is Sept. 25. The JV tournament will be Sept. 23.
“It will be nice to be home a couple of times,” Krysztof said. “I’ve been telling classmates they can come watch us twice. It’s really exciting.”
Today’s meet at Topeka-Hayden begins at 3 p.m. Baldwin will next play another quad at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Spring Hill.
“It will be nice to move from the drilling stage to the matches,” Hoffman said. “I think the girls are excited, but some of them are a little nervous.”