2017 Viroqua High School girls tennis team

Members of the 2017 Viroqua girls tennis team include (front, from left) Avienda Inman, Marissa Czap, Maya Kimball; (middle) Elena Morton, Emma Kolden, Kylie Krahn, Kailyn Myers, Brenna Rider; (back) Delilah Vance, Olivia Rottman, Erin Baker, Lizzy Hoversten and Thea Hass-Sawvell

Having enough available athletes to fill out a 10-player roster for each tennis match can be a challenge for a school the size of Viroqua, but it appears at least for this year, lack of numbers will not be an issue for Viroqua High School girls team.

Even after graduating seven seniors from the 2016 version of Blackhawk tennis, VHS veteran coach Cassandra Melcher welcomes 13 players to this year’s team. Melcher, in her eighth year of guiding the VHS program, has a cast of seven seniors, two juniors and four sophomores vying for spots in the starting lineup.

Despite the solid number of candidates to fill out her starting lineup, Melcher recognizes the lack of experience will be a test for this year’s team.

“Our biggest challenge is the number of new players we have on the team this year, we need to get them past the beginning part of the learning curve so they can be competitive on the court.”

Seniors Lizzy Hoversten, Erin Baker and junior Kylie Krahn all played prominent roles on varsity last year and Brenna Rider, Olivia Rottman and Marissa Czap return to the team after gaining valuable varsity experience as freshmen for VHS last fall. Filling out the rest of the team’s roster are seniors Elena Morton, Delilah Vance, Emma Kolden, Kailyn Myers and Thea Haas, junior Avienda Inman and sophomore Mia Kimbal.

Melcher has observed a strong work ethic and camaraderie among team members in early practices.

“Our team motto is ‘Work Hard and Have Fun’ and our goal is to take something out of every match and practice and learn from it. Each player is improving on a daily basis, they all want to improve even if it is something minor. They all seem to be willing to help each other on and off the court. They are a very close group that wants to be able to see their teammates succeeding even if that means taking time away from their own practices.”

Perennial powers Onalaska Luther and West Salem are considered by Melcher strong contenders for the Coulee Conference title. “But although we face a lot of tough competition, I am hoping we will be able to take third at conference this year.”

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Angie Cina is editor of the Vernon County Broadcaster. Contact her at 608-637-5616.

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