Schroeder sisters advance to state as doubles partners
Portage County Gazette
By John Kemmeter
Senior Sophie Schroeder and freshman Ella Schroeder of the Pacelli Catholic High School girls tennis team will play together at the State Tournament this weekend as doubles partners.
The sisters teamed up to finish second in No. 1 doubles at the Baldwin-Woodville Sectional Thursday, Oct. 4, to earn a trip to the WIAA Division 2 Individual State Tournament at Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 11-13.
“It’s a really cool feeling, especially as a freshman,” said Ella. “I didn’t think I’d be able to have this opportunity, but it’s really nice being paired with my sister, and the coaches have helped me a lot.”
“Being sisters, they probably have a little bit different connection than somebody else,” said Pacelli girls tennis head coach Joyce Krusa. “ Sometimes you get the sibling rivalry going on, but overall they make a good team.”
After competing at Team State as a sophomore, Sophie advanced to the State Tournament last year as a junior in doubles with former partner Amanda Cisewski.
Midway through this season, she was paired up with her younger sister at No. 1 doubles for Pacelli, and they’ve gone 12-3 as partners.
“At first it was really, really fun, because I could critique her, and she would listen to me,” said Sophie. “And then when we started losing, then it got a little bit more stressful, I would get a little bit more mad and not so nice, because I felt like I could, since she’s my sister.
“But all in all, it’s been a really great experience for me,” she said. “Just to play with her and to be able to share this experience with her.”
“It’s been a lot of fun,” said Ella. “I didn’t expect to be playing with her, especially since I’m so much younger.
“She has taught me a lot of things that I probably wouldn’t have learned if I was playing with another partner,” she said.
The sisters opened the postseason with a 6-0, 6-0 win in their only match at the Lakeland Union Subsectional Tuesday, Oct. 2, and then won 6-3, 6-2 in their opening at Sectionals last Thursday to qualify for state.
They followed with a 6-4, 6-3 win in the Sectional Semifinals, before they lost 6-3, 6-2 to seniors Allison Oman and Olivia Braaten of Amery in the Sectional Final to place second.
“After their loss at Sectionals, Ella was crying because she thought she did bad, and I turned around and said, ‘you made it to the Sectional Finals, you’re going to state as a freshman, that’s a great accomplishment,’” said Krusa. “Once she started thinking about that, then it was a little bit different. It’s a great experience going your freshman year, and I anticipate seeing her go again in the future.
“And Sophie has just evolved since her freshman year, each year getting better and better,” she said. “She’s a team leader, during the summer her and some of the other seniors set up captain practices to get the girls out there and hitting, and she has been playing amazingly great at the net lately.”
“It’s great,” said Sophie of getting back to state. “It was the main goal of the season, and I couldn’t have done it without my coach and the rest of my teammates, who really helped me through practice.
“Amanda Cisewski and Mari Olson and Stephanie Vaughan, the rest of the seniors were a great help, because they pushed me to do better,” she said.
The Schroeder sisters will play in the opening round of the State Tournament at 7 p.m. Thursday against a familiar opponent, as they are set to take on Oman and Braaten of Amery in a rematch of the Sectional Final.
“It doesn’t matter if we win or lose, we just want to do our best and leave it all out there,” said Sophie. “But playing for this team has been great, coach Krusa does a great job and it’s just been so fun to play for her over the last four years.
“And it’s really exciting to go back to state,” she said.
“I hope that in continuing years I’ll be able to find someone like Sophie that I can play with and continue to learn from,” said Ella. “It’s going to be her last game (sometime this weekend), and I just want to make it fun for her and just have a good time.”