First-year head coach Tony Alberts made it clear to his players on the Marshall girls' tennis team that their first competition of the season was not going to be judged on wins or losses, but about attitude and improvement.
The young squad opened the season Friday in Mankato and its lack of experience showed in three matches against three challenging teams. Mankato West, St. James and Orono all blanked the Tigers 7-0 without giving up a single set.
"I think their overall attitudes were just excellent," said Alberts, whose team has had to replace six players from last year. "They knew it was stiff competition coming in and and I wanted them to look at it point by point and work on developing, work on improving. At the end of the day, they had fun and now they know some new areas they need to improve in."
Mankato West and St. James each had five wins by scores of 6-0, 6-0 against the Tigers. Marshall senior Jenna Gannott had a couple of the more competitive sets in her first competition playing No. 1 singles. After getting blanked in the first set by Mankato West's Andrea Erdman, she took three games in the second set in the losing effort. Then in her match against an Orono opponent, Gannott lost 6-1, 7-5.
Alberts said some of the lopsided scores weren't indicative of how hard the Tigers played Friday and he noticed that the players started to build some confidence as the day wore on.
"They started off real tight, and like any first match of the year, that will happen," Alberts said. "Everyone was kind of nervous, but many of them were either playing their first varsity match or it was their first time at No. 1 or No. 2 singles.
"As the novelty of their first competition wore off, they started to get into a groove. We got into a lot of deuce games and just came out on the wrong side of those. But the girls played some good tennis."
The Tigers will get some more early-season action in Thursday when they travel to play Sleepy Eye.
Mankato West 7, Marshall 0
1. Andrea Erdman (MW) def. Jenna Gannott 6-0 6-3
2. Julia Snelson (MW) def. Brittany Soupir 6-0 6-0
3. Lexi Miller (MW) def. Katie Ewing 6-0, 6-0
4. Marissa Swenson (MW) def. Kaylee Hoflock 6-0, 6-0
1. Melissa Lager/Ann Coughlan (MW) def. Rachel Landmark/Crista Schultze 6-0, 6-2
2. Emily Smith/Lia Spencer (MW) def. Tori St. Aubin/Cheyenne DeMuth 6-0, 6-0
3. Kendra Allen/Lynn Braun (MW) def. Linnea Bader/Sarah Schroeder 6-0, 6-0
St. James 7, Marshall 0
1. Lorena Hernandez (SJ) def. Gannott 6-1, 6-0
2. Julia Boeve (SJ) def. Landmark 6-0, 6-0
3. Aubrey Eckstrom (SJ) def. Ewing 6-0, 6-0
4. Taylor Nordhausen (SJ) def. Hoflock 6-0 6-0
1. Acacia Foss/Ashley Frederickson (SJ) def. Soupir/Schultze 6-0, 6-0
2. Anna Haler/Hannah Christensen (SJ) def. St. Aubin/Bader 6-0, 6-0
3. Morgan Sandmeyer/Alejandra Trapero (SJ) def. DeMuth/Schrader 6-1, 6-3
Orono 7, Marshall 0
1. (O) def. Gannott 6-1, 7-5
2. (O) def. Schultze 6-0, 6-2
3. (O) def. Ewing 6-0, 6-0
4. (O) def. Hoflock 6-0, 6-0
1. (O) def. Soupir/Landmark 6-2, 6-2
2. (O) def. St. Aubin/Schroeder 6-0, 6-1
3. (O) def. DeMuth/Bader 6-0, 6-1