Girls Tennis: Kurtzman a constant in Warriors winning lineup
Kate Kurtzman's win at No. 1 singles helps Warriors take down the Sartell Sabres 7-0.
Brainerd Warriors head coach Lisa Salo said there would be changes.
She wasn’t kidding.
This year’s Warriors’ lineup doesn’t look much like last year’s even with seven girls returning. About the only thing similar to the unbeaten Central Lakes Conference team of last year is No. 1 singles player Kate Kurtzman.
The senior showed Tuesday, Sept. 1, why she’s a mainstay at the top singles spot with a 6-0, 6-1 victory in Brainerd’s 7-0 blowout of the Sartell Sabres at Brainerd High School.
The Warriors scored seven straight-set victories with Taylor Ruhl and Lindsy Busch each securing 6-0, 6-0 victories.
Kurtzman displayed her dominance early with a 6-0 first-set victory over Sarah Weno, but the Sabres’ sophomore changed-up her game early in the second set. That temporarily flustered Kertzman who regrouped for a 6-1 second-set win.
“I was just trying to hit out and accelerate because it was really hard,” Kertzman said. “She switched up her game. She would throw some really soft, short ones in and then all of a sudden there would be a pace ball coming at me and I didn’t know what to do. I just had to adjust around that and move my feet a lot. I would try to pass her, but she was really good at the net. The baseline helped me out a lot and I would just try and keep her back. Once she came up to the net, it was definitely a struggle for me.”
Kurtzman called last year a learning experience as a junior playing No. 1 singles for the first time. But the five-year varsity veteran is playing with more confidence this season.
“I remember last year at this time I was super stressed and nervous, but now I know the drill and the game,” she said. “It’s a lot better.”
Kurtzman, who improves to 2-1 on the season, said she hopes having her at No. 1 singles again is a comfort for the rest of her teammates.
“I’ve already been through this for a year and definitely last year was a learning experience,” Kurtzman said. “I hope to be a good role model and they can come to me with whatever they need.”
One of Brainerd’s more drastic lineup changes is Catherine Moraghan who went from No. 3 doubles to No. 2 singles. The junior improved to 3-0 with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Addy Bultema.
“I thought I played pretty well,” Moraghan said. “I had a hiccup at the beginning of the second set, but I was happy I was able to get back on track.”
Moraghan said the biggest hurdle from moving to singles from doubles was the mental part of the game. She said she’s grown mentally and feels good from a physical standpoint. That’s allowed her to find success.
“I’m not surprised with how well I’ve been playing,” Moraghan said. “I’m surprised I’ve been able to embrace the new singles, just the whole type of game you need to play in singles. Hopefully, I can continue to keep going. It’s pretty different, especially not being able to rely on a partner. It’s all on you and you have to open up the court and be as consistent as you can.”
Ruhl’s win came at No. 3 singles with Busch earning a No. 4 singles victory.
“We look at this as a team,” Salo said. “We obviously have to position individuals into a position they can succeed at and unlike other sports, where you can maybe change out players midway through a contest, we can’t in tennis. We are competing as a team and that’s the focus and that’s what we talk about.
“We have more matches coming up and there is potential for even more changes. We’ll see.”
On the doubles front, the duo of Lily Jones-Kate Chaussee battled through the longest of the seven varsity matches. They prevailed 6-2, 6-3 to improve to 3-0.
The doubles pairs of Ally Goeden-Brynne Folden and Chloe Pecarich-Lila Collins also improved to 3-0. Both teams dropped just one game.
“When we started the match today, I said to both teams we are in Week Three of the season and Week Two of competition,” Salo said. “We’re adjusting to our new protocols and it’s gone really well and we’re getting more comfortable with these additional protocols. We’re out here and I’ve said gratitude before, but we are just glad to be out here.
“The girls want to get better. We’re working hard in practice and we have more work to do, but we intentionally look at how we compete and then build the practices off of that.”
Warriors 7, Sartell 0
No. 1: Kate Kurtzman (Brd) def. Sarah Weno 6-0, 6-1
No. 2: Catherine Moraghan (Brd) def. Addy Bultema 6-0, 6-2
No. 3: Taylor Ruhl (Brd) def. Olivia Marek 6-0, 6-0
No. 4: Lindsy Busch (Brd) def. Hailey Hennen 6-0, 6-0
No. 1: Lily Jones-Kate Chaussee (Brd) def. Violet Steil-Addy Burns 6-2, 6-3
No. 2: Ally Goeden-Brynne Folden (Brd) def. Emily Crandall-Rainna Stangle 6-1, 6-0
No. 3: Chloe Pecarich-Lila Collins (Brd) def. Tia Leen-Greta Schmidt 6-0, 6-1
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 218-855-5856 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop.
Warriors 7, Sartell 0
Key: Warriors win all seven matches in straight sets
Conf: Brd: 3-0, S 0-2
Overall: Brd 3-0, S 0-3
Next: Brainerd at Rocori 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3