By: John Raffel
Haslett girls tennis team produces another strong entry
By John Raffel
The Haslett girls tennis team was ranked seventh in state polls prior to the start of the season, and the team has lived up to its billing.
Coach Henry Brunnschweiler's team took fifth place in the state finals last season, and the team has again advanced to the Division 3 state tournament.
“That was a significant jump. Before that, the best we had ever finished was 13th,” Brunnschweiler. “I'm hoping we do well [this season.]”
This was “probably” the second best team he's had, Brunnschweiler indicated. “We graduated a couple of important players from last year,” he said. “We still returned two of our best players. We have had an opportunity to play well, especially here late in the season.”
Haslett was 7-4-1 during duals and was second to DeWitt in the conference. But Haslett defeated DeWitt in the regional.
“Regionals are based on your point totals and we had 27 points and they had 18,” Brunnschweiler said. “In the league tournament, they finished with 42 points and we had 40.”
Junior Emmy Virkus was at No. 1 and sophomore Shea Donahue was at No. 2. Both had 18-4 match records following district action.
“They're both doing very well,” Brunnschweiler said. “Shea was runner-up last year at No. 3 singles, so she's playing a higher spot. She's playing a tougher position. They both continue to improve. They're very good. I like our potential for next year even more. There's still time for them to grow.”
Virkus, Brunnschweiler noted, “is a competitor. She's a warrior on the court. She never gives up in any possible way during a match and continually finds ways to hang in against her opponent. She has a lot of power and a lot of speed. She's a top-level athlete playing the sport of tennis.”
As for Donahue, “she's a very smooth natural player,” Brunnschweiler said. “She's a phenomenal athlete and extremely quick. She plays with a lot of power and has outstanding stamina and recovery. Both girls are baseline players.
“I'd say we've played to where we expected to be. We had to replace seven starters out of 12. You're going to have players brand new to the competition and it takes time. But what I am proud of is the girls steadily improved, and they played their best tennis at the end of this year.”
The best doubles record for Haslett has been compiled by the No. 3 team of Jill Wanhoff and Erica Coscarelli at 14-8.
“They have built some chemistry and have been successful,” Brunnschweiler said. “They're both fairly athletic and fairly competitive. They work pretty hard.”