Scottsbluff girls’ tennis brings mix of players
     2015-03-26      By Jerry Purvis    news@geringcitizen.com
Photo Courtesy of SHS Journalism Department - The Scottsbluff High School girls’ tennis team members, front row from left are Hailey Franklin, Zoe Holscher, Christina Villarreal, Stacea Pauli, Sara Cloud. Middle row: Rebecca Weis, Aubrey Straub, Moriah Wyre, Sarah Woodward, Rachel Hancock. Back row: Brooke Hagen, Alisha Huynh, Tieesha Alsides, Keleigh Hafner, Barbara Calvert. 
A variety of seasoned veterans and newcomers are ready to take the court for the Scottsbluff High School girls’ tennis team.
The Lady Bearcats turned in a 7-7 dual record last season playing in the GNAC Conference as a Class B school.

“We have a nice mix of players in both veterans and new kids,” said Coach Cassie Behnke, now in her 7th year at the helm. “We have a lot of girls who are hungry to compete. That will be an important factor in motivating the team while we develop the younger players.”
Behnke said their main goal is to be a fundamentally sound team that focuses on what makes them good tennis players.

“Of course, the girls will have their own individual goals,” she said. “Some of the older girls are looking forward to getting some wins at the state tournament and advancing to the second round.”
With basketball and other activities, the roster is still in flux. But Behnke said they should have about 16 players for this season’s campaign.

A number of letter winners are returning from last season. They include Zoe Holscher at No. 1 singles and Christina Villarreal at No. 2 singles. And Sarah Cloud and Stacea Pauli return at No. 1 doubles.
In 2014, Holscher took her 35-9 singles record to the state tournament, where she placed second in Class B. She was also named as an honorable mention to the All-State team.

“All these girls have basically played those positions since they were freshmen,” Behnke said. “This will be their third year playing at the varsity level.”
She added that in early practices, she’s seeing a lot of potential among her new players. Some of them might even challenge the veterans for playing time.

“That’s the best thing about tennis,” Behnke said. “You have to fight for and earn the position you’re in.”

Some of the big events coming up for the Bearcats include the North Platte Invitational. Behnke said it’s like a warm-up event for the GNAC Conference championships. It draws a number of teams that Scottsbluff won’t play that often during the season.

“We really like the first dual of the year against Ogallala,” she said. “Ogallala always has lots of good competitors in their team, so it’s great way to start the season.”

Also, the Lexington Invitational gives the Bearcats a chance to measure how they’re performing so far and what needs to be worked on. The Lexington event also brings in a number of teams Scottsbluff usually won’t see on the regular schedule.

Behnke is assisted by Maddie Burford, who coaches the boys’ tennis team in the fall. “I value her experience so much, she’s more like a co-head coach,” she said. “And I help out Maddie in the fall with the boys.”

Girls Tennis Schedule

Thursday, March 19 at Grand Island Central Catholic Invitational – 9 a.m.
Tuesday, March 24 Home vs. Ogallala – 1 p.m.
Tuesday, March 31 Triangular at Gering with Alliance – 4 p.m.
Thursday, April 2 at North Platte Invitational – 9:30 a.m.
Tuesday, April 7 Home triangular with Gering and Alliance – 2 p.m.
Saturday, April 11 at Ogallala JV Invitational – 10 a.m.
Monday, April 13 at Kearney Catholic – 1:30 p.m. and Kearney – 4 p.m.
Tuesday, April 14 at Lexington Invitational – 10 a.m.
Tuesday, April 21 Triangular at Alliance with Gering – 4 p.m.
Friday, April 24 Home vs. Gillette – 4 p.m.
Saturday, April 25 Home Invitational – 9 a.m.
Tuesday, April 28 Home triangular with Gering and Alliance – 2 p.m.
Thursday, April 30 Home vs. Hershey – 4 p.m.
Friday, May 1 at McCook – 10 a.m.
Saturday, May 2 at McCook Invitational – 10 a.m.
Tuesday, May 5 vs. Kearney at North Platte – noon, vs. North Platte – 2:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 9 at Columbus GNAC Tournament – 10 a.m.
Tuesday, May 12 Home double dual vs. North Platte and Alliance – 10 a.m.
Thursday, May 14 at Ogallala – 4 p.m.
Thursday – Friday, May 21 – 22 State Tournament at Lincoln – TBA



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