Local tennis teams return from state tourney
     2014-05-29      By Jerry Purvis    news@geringcitizen.com
Both Scottsbluff and Gering girls’ tennis teams performed well at the state tournament last week, but were unable to make it past the first day of competition.

Sophomore Zoe Holscher, the standout at No. 1 singles for Scottsbluff, made it through the first two rounds. She defeated Emily Wright of Beatrice 6-0, 6-1, and then Mary Heng of York by 6-1, 6-3 to reach the quarter-final round before losing to Michelle Messbarger of Kearney Catholic.

No. 2 singles Christina Villarreal lost to Madi Schwenka of Hastings St. Cecilia, 7-6 (7-0), 4-6, and 4-6.

Scottsbluff’s No. 1 doubles team of sophomores Sarah Cloud and Stacea Pauli lost to North Platte’s Tanis Sack and Kristen Wullschleger by a 3-6, 6-2, 5-7 score.

At No. 2 doubles, Makayla Castro and Rachel Madden lost to Hastings St. Cecelia Claire Hamburger and Morgan Nikkila, 4-6, 1-6.

“I think our team performed well as a whole,” Coach Cassie Behnke said. The No. 2 doubles team really surprised their competition by taking the first two games. That really showed me how hard they’ve worked the whole season.”

Behnke also said her two sophomore standouts, Zoe Holscher and Christina Villarreal, both competed at a high level. Villarreal won her first game, then forced a tiebreaker, before dropping the last two games.

Holscher made it to the quarter-finals, where she faced Michelle Messbarger of Kearney Catholic. Behnke said the loss wasn’t a reflection of her play. “Michelle is an incredible tennis player and was just more consistent that day.”

Scottsbluff ends its 2014 girls’ tennis campaign with a 7-7 dual record. “These girls put together one of the most successful seasons in my six-year coaching career,” Behnke said. “I give them all the credit for putting in the extra effort and hard work to compete at a higher level.”

For the Gering Lady Bulldogs, Katie Collins lost her No. 1 singles match to Kendra McGinnis of Nebraska City by a 6-2, 6-4 score. At No. 2 singles, Kaitlyn Wagoner fell 6-1, 6-0 to Hannah Knapp of Hastings, who was seeded third in the tournament.

Gering’s Savannah Walker and Samantha Gutherless faced Alexandra Goossen and Danielle Havekost of Beatrice for their opening No. 1 doubles match and were defeated 6-1, 6-4. And Gering’s No. 2 doubles team of Marlee Lupher and Carolyn Howton were blanked 6-0, 6-0 by Kathleen Bartunek and Sydney Landell of Hastings.

“I was hoping for more wins than we got, but we competed well,” said Gering Coach Justin Reinmuth. Savannah Walker and Samantha Gutherless played a tough match at No. 1 doubles against Beatrice but were unable to come away with the win. This was their first competition on an indoor court and they really liked that.”

Reinmuth said the program is still very young, so he plans for much more success in the future. “I really enjoyed the season and will miss the seniors,” he added. “We should have about 20 kids coming out next year, so hopefully we’ll have lots of good players for the next season.”

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