Tang, doubles teams advance to state for SPASH
By John Kemmeter
Stevens Point Area Senior High School (SPASH) junior Sabrina Tang and a pair of doubles teams earned a trip to the WIAA Division 1 Girls Tennis Individual State Tournament in Madison Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 12-14.
Tang won the No. 1 singles bracket to improve to 28-0 on the season at the WIAA Division 1 Wausau West Sectional Wednesday, Oct. 4, while the No. 1 doubles team of juniors Lillie James and Taylor Konczal, and the No. 2 doubles team of senior Maggie Negaard and junior Elizabeth Wentzel also qualified for state.
Tang received the No. 2 overall seed at state and an opening-round bye, while both doubles teams are set to open at Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison at 3 p.m. Thursday.
“It’s a fantastic group of kids to work with,” said first year SPASH girls tennis head coach Kyle Falk. “They graduated seven girls from last year’s team, so we’re relatively young in terms of experience at the varsity level.
“Our girls came in and filled those spots well, they grew as a team, and it’s been a fantastic season for them,” he said.
SPASH lost back-to-back WIAA Division 1 Individual State Champion Emily Luetschwager from last year, along with the state-qualifying doubles team of Suzie DeBot and Emily Meier, and was led by the return of Tang.
After going 1-1 at state as a freshman to finish 29-3 overall, Tang went 2-1 at state last year to end her sophomore season with a 32-1 record, and entered the Sectional Wednesday with a 25-0 mark this season.
Tang opened with a 6-0, 6-0 win over senior Sarah Altmann of Chippewa Falls (13-6) to earn a trip to state for the third year in a row, and then won 6-2, 6-3 over junior Sierra Auleta of Eau Claire Memorial (24-6) to advance to the Sectional Final.
There, she won 6-0, 6-0 over freshman Natasha Bailey of Wausau West (25-7) to win the Sectional Title at No. 1 singles for the first time, after she won Sectional Titles at No. 2 singles the last two years.
“I’m excited for the opportunity, and I feel like I’ll be able to accomplish more than I did last year,” said Tang. “I’ve been afforded a tremendous opportunity, and I have no regrets about this season so far.
“And I’d like to keep it that way,” she said.
“It’s been a fantastic year for her, obviously,” said Falk. “She set her goals really high, we were hoping for a really good season, but we certainly weren’t expecting an undefeated year.
“We played great competition, players that we anticipated would be highly seeded at the end of the year, we saw them and she performed well all year,” he said. “And her seed at the State Tournament reflects her performance from the entire year.”
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