Mitchell High School continued its hot start to the girls tennis season on Monday.
The Kernels swept Brookings in an Eastern South Dakota Conference dual meet at Hitchcock Park, 9-0, and they got better as the day went along.
After starting the meet with doubles play, Mitchell cruised through singles action. Four of its top-five players did not surrender a game and the top five did not give up a game in the second set.
“Sometimes with a young team, you play down to the level of your competition,” MHS head coach Pat Moller said. “I thought we did a good job of playing our tennis and maintaining our level and it showed in the score.”
Kelsey Dahme blanked Brookings’ Skylor Ness at No. 1 singles, 6-0, 6-0 and Atlanta Stahle won her No. 2 singles match against Lynn Foster by the same score. At No. 3 singles, Olivia Huber beat Tristina Ting, 6-1, 6-0.
Kiersten Bathke beat Paige Foster, 6-0, 6-0, at No. 4 singles and Amber Moller also shutout Isha Hooda at No. 5 singles. Ashley Jones rounded out the lineup with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Ainsley Shelsta at No. 6 singles.
“We started a little flat, but when we finished with doubles and got into singles, all of the girls just rolled,” Moller said. “We were pretty stress-free. They just went out there, won their sets and got off the courts as quick as possible.”
Stahle and Huber played No. 5 and No. 6 singles, respectively, last season as freshmen, but are showing the climb up in the lineup is not too much to handle early in the year.
“They are just very, very coachable,” Moller said. “They try to take the words and turn them into actions whenever I talk to them. I think you are going to see a lot of improvement out of them throughout the season because of that.”
Dahme and Stahle beat Ness and Foster, 6-3, 6-2, in No. 1 doubles, while Huber and Moller beat Ting and Foster at No. 2 doubles, 6-1, 6-2, and Bathke and Jones scored a 6-1, 6-1 win over Hooda and Shelsta at No. 3 doubles.
Mitchell now has its first quick turnaround of the season, with another ESD dual at Harrisburg at 4 p.m. on Thursday. Moller also believes it could be the first big test for his team.
“They’ve got six pretty solid players, so we’re going to have to be ready for that,” Moller said. “... I think it’ll be a pretty good benchmark for where we are in the state. I know what they’ve coming back, and if they’ve improved as much as we have, they’ll be a challenge.”