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Girls Tennis at the USM Invitational

The University School girls’ tennis team opened the 2020 season by hosting the USM Invite on Friday, August 21 and Saturday, August 22. It was the first competition for a USM team since the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March.  The Wildcats made it a successful return to play. They faced three teams that they may oppose in the WIAA Division 2 state tournament at the end of the season. USM began by defeating The Prairie School of Racine, 7-0 on Friday. On Saturday morning, Regis High School of Eau Claire edged out USM, 4-3. However, the Wildcats concluded the invite that afternoon by defeating Kohler High School, 6-1.

Maahum Jan, a senior who played number 1 singles for USM, commented on the weekend, “Although we have had to compromise a lot this season due to COVID 19, the relentlessness of the team this year has proven to be stronger than the virus. This weekend we really showed as a team how prepared we were to play through the odds. Our lineup is very strong this year and our two doubles, two freshmen, proved it to us. As a team we are extremely excited to see where the season takes us, and with the spirit we showed this weekend, I know we will play our best.”

Jan’s remarks pointed to the match which was the highlight of the weekend for the Wildcats. Freshmen Isabel Werner and Beatrice Laterman came from behind to defeat Kohler’ Erin Pellegrino and Natalie Udovich in the 2 doubles match.  Werner and Laterman lost the first set, 6-1.  They then rallied to take the second set, 6-3.  In the best of ten tie-breaker, they squeaked out an 11-9 win.

Laterman said, “I was so excited for the matches this weekend, and I was even more excited to play with one of my best friends, Isabel Werner. In our last match, Isabel and I were losing pretty badly, although both of us are big competitors and we were ready to fight for the win. We ended up winning the second set and played a tie break, which we ended up winning. I had so much fun this weekend, and I can’t wait for the rest of the season.”

Werner agreed about the duo’s first varsity matches adding, “Honestly, I was really excited, but also kind of nervous when I first found out that I would be playing in the matches this weekend, given the fact that I hadn’t played in a tennis match in over two years. In our final match of the weekend, we played a long first set, which we ended up losing. By then, we had figured out how the other team played and also the areas they usually left open. Knowing this, we were able to win the second set and eventually the ten-point tie break. I was exhausted afterward, but I enjoyed every moment of it.”

Werner and Laterman also won their other two matches during the weekend.  They defeated The Prairie School’s Arenie Vartanian and Susie Ulrich, 6-0, 6-0; they also beat Abby Erickson and Lauren Seeman of Regis, 6-0, 6-1.

Senior Kala Siddalingaiah was proud of her new teammates, I was extremely impressed by Beatrice and Isabel’s performance at 2 doubles, especially considering they are freshmen. The way they pulled through after losing the first set showed they won’t give up until the very end. If they continue this winning streak, they could be one of the youngest teams to qualify for individual state.”

Karly Francis, another senior, agreed and also commented on another newcomer to the team, Neomi Spellman. “I was worried that the pandemic would have affected team morale, but spirits are just as high as they were last year. Beatrice and Isabel did fantastic at 2 doubles, and I’ve been very impressed with Neomi at 3 and 4 singles so far. The energy is great with this group and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the season plays out.”

Spellman’s first varsity match was a tough one. In a 4 singles match, she outlasted Madeline Nelson of The Prairie School, 6-3, 3-6, 10-6.  She lost a tie breaker to Regis’s Ava Bremer 5-7, 6-1, 10-6.  But Spellman concluded the weekend playing 3 singles against Kohler’s Hannah Shvartsman. Spellman won the match, 6-3, 6-4.

Siddalingaiah and her junior partner Rebecca Daskal won all three of the matches at 1 doubles.  They defeated Nareh Vartanian and Lily Jorgenson of The Prairie School, 7-6(0), 6-2.  Then they beat Maddie Metz and Caitlin Klink of Regis, 6-2, 6-0.  They finished the weekend’s sweep by knocking off Ava Hoffman and Lily Montes of Kohler, 6-4, 6-3.

Jan went 2-1 at 1 singles for the Wildcats. She beat The Prairie School’s Molly Cookman 6-2, 6-2. She lost a tie breaker to Arianna Smith of Regis in a long match that ended at 4-6, 6-4, 10-8.  Jan then won against Kohler’s Sarah Horth, 6-3, 6-3.

Senior Audrey Treptow also went 2-1 in the 2 singles matches.  She defeated Tori Walker of The Prairie School in a long match.  The final result was 4-6, 6-0, 10-6.  Treptow beat Sofi Merrick of Regis 7-5, 6-1. She lost her final match against Kohler’s Maria Burrows, 2-6, 6-3, 10-6.

The USM 3 doubles team won two out of three matches.  Junior Rachel Schneck teamed with sophomore Jessi Marcus to defeat The Prairie School’s Callah Pessin and Sina Kotseva, 6-0, 3-0.  The USM duo lost to Adrienne Morning and Tiegan Petersilka of Regis, 6-2, 6-0.  They finished with a win against Nadia Wandschneider and Kennedy Gebler of Kohler, 6-2, 6-1.

Junior Divya Pandey also played singles for the Wildcats. She played in the 3 singles match against Jaclyn Palmen of The Prairie School, winning by a 6-2, 6-2 mark. Pandey lost the 3 singles match against Brittany Martinez of Regis, 0-6, 0-6.  Pandey finished the invite by winning the 4 singles match against Kohler’s Danielle Stofgren, 6-1, 6-0.

The Wildcats face another tough opponent on Tuesday, August 25th when they head down the road to Whitefish Bay High School to take on the Blue Dukes at 4:00 p.m.