The Mitchell girls tennis team is on pace for another successful postseason.
Mitchell’s dual record is 10-2, suffering two close losses, each by a team score of 5-4 to RC Stevens on Aug. 27 and Yankton on Sept. 3.
Throughout the 10 matches Mitchell has won, eight of those wins were 9-0 shutout victories and one of was an 8-1 win.
Flight 1 singles player Atlanta Stahle currently sits at 12-5 and has won her last four sets 6-0. No. 2 singles player Olivia Huber has a record of 14-2 and has won her last three matches. Amber Moller is the No. 3 singles player for Mitchell and has a record of 11-4 while No. 4 singles player Julia Platt is still undefeated at 17-0. Flight 5 singles player Sydney Reynolds is 13-4 and and No. 6 singles player Megan Mastel is 17-1. Mastel hasn’t lost a match since Aug. 27.
Mitchell came into this season as the two-time reigning Class A girls tennis champions. They understood their goal was to three-peat, but knew nothing would be easy as they are the ones with the targets on their back. Safe to say, Mitchell is handling adversity pretty well thus far.
“I’m really proud of the way we’ve responded to pressure,” Mitchell head coach Pat Moller said. “We talked about it a lot in practice and as we’re going to matches, other teams want to beat the best. We’ve seen players elevate their game against Mitchell and I’ve just told our girls we have to expect the best from other teams.”
Some of these players have been working with Moller since as early as fifth grade and he said they’ve put the time and dedication towards the sport to be in the position they’re in.
“They’re not good because they woke up good at tennis,” Moller said. “They’re good because they developed a passion for tennis in their heart and they went out and worked for it. There’s no secret to success in tennis. If you work harder than your opponent, more than likely you’re going to have more success than they are and our girls have really embraced that.”
Mitchell has overcome what undoubtedly is the toughest part of its schedule so far, playing six matches in eight days.
Moller said the scheduling of that part in the season is something they could alter to possibly give his team more rest, but he believes having a tougher schedule ultimately helps this team in the long run.
“It’s a grind, I always feel like if we can get through that stretch without any injuries, we play a lot better after that,” Moller said. “The girls know they have to be physically and mentally ready for that grind and they embrace that challenge. It’s as much of a grind as our Eastern South Dakota Conference tournament and state tournament, so it prepares us for that mentally.”
Moller said this team still has a lot to work on and wants to get all the players playing at a high level, consistently as they get closer to the state tournament on Oct. 3.
“When we went up to Rapid City and played in the Rapid City invite, we played at a high level most of the time,” Moller said. “We dropped a few matches because we lost that focus or we just didn’t play with the intensity we needed to play at, but when our girls are focused with the right mindset, I like our chances against anybody.”
Mitchell’s next match is a quadrangular against Sioux Falls Jefferson, Spearfish and Yankton at 9 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 18 at Hitchcock Park.