Schroeder and Stolt earn trip to state for Pacelli
Portage County Gazette
By John Kemmeter
The doubles team of sophomores Ella Schroeder and Marissa Stolt will play in the WIAA Division 2 Individual State Tournament this week for the Pacelli Catholic High School girls tennis team.
Schroeder and Stolt earned a trip to state at the Eau Claire Regis Sectional Thursday, Oct. 10, and are set to play in the State Tournament at Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 17-19.
“This is the first year these two have worked together,” said Pacelli girls tennis head coach Joyce Krusa. “They had asked to be partners, and they worked over the summer as doubles and went to some tournaments, and they’re good friends, so their chemistry has clicked.
“And they kept on building,” she said. “And I think our biggest victory of the year is when the girls won the conference flight at No. 1 doubles and became the Conference Players of the Year at doubles, and it kept on going from there.”
Schroeder advanced to state last year as part of a doubles team with her older sister Sophie, who was a senior last year, and teamed up this season with Stolt.
“It was different this year than last year, just playing with someone so much older than me, and then playing with someone my age (this season),” said Schroeder. “We both had stuff we needed to figure out.”
“I played singles last year, so just getting to know the strategy and everything was a big change for me,” said Stolt. “But it was good to play with someone who was more experienced at doubles.”
After winning the No. 1 doubles flight at the Great Northern Conference Tournament, Schroeder and Stolt won 6-0, 6-0 in their only match at the Marshfield Columbus Catholic Subsectional Monday, Oct. 7, to advance to Sectionals with a 16-7 record.
At Sectionals last Thursday, Schroeder and Stolt won their opening match 6-4, 6-7 (4), 7-5 over Jessica Jarvis and Libby Whirry of Baldwin-Woodville to advance to state.
“We won the first set pretty easily, and then we lost our serve a few times, so we lost the second set,” said Stolt. “And then the third set, we were down 0-3 at some point, and we had to fight back from that.
“So it was a pretty big struggle, it was like a three-hour match,” she said. “But we pulled it out.”
“That was really cool, just knowing that you’re going to state,” said Schroeder. “And it was just so close, that I didn’t know how it was going to turn it out.
“But it was a lot of fun,” she said.
Schroeder and Stolt lost 6-0, 6-3 to Hannah Bottolfson and Autumn Rivard of Avery in the semifinals, but bounced back with a 2-6, 6-4, 2-0 win over junior Jada Brunkow and Phoebe Jerome of Barron (14-5) to place third at Sectionals.
“We made it into the second round and they were tired, they had all of their energy spent, so they didn’t play as well and lost to a very good Amery team,” said Krusa. “Then we came back to play for the consolation round, and we split sets, and we were up that third set, and one of the girls on the other teams had to pull out (due to injury).
“But at that point, I was pretty sure we were going to pull it out, because we were up 4-1, and the girls were playing very good,” she said.
Schroeder and Stolt (18-8) are scheduled to open at state against juniors Emma Jares and Drew Korth of Saint Mary Catholic (16-7) at 6:45 p.m. Thursday.
The winner will move on to play either the eighth-seeded team of senior Elena Bourget and sophomore Evie Shepich of Eau Claire Regis (21-8) or senior Lydia Olson and junior Taylor Wenton of Grafton (5-7) at noon Friday, Oct. 18.
“We’re playing against a team in the first round that we’ve beaten twice before, and so we have a pretty good shot,” said Stolt. “And then if we win that, we’ll play the eight seed, and they had a close game with somebody that we beat, so we have a chance.”
“I wasn’t really expecting this at the beginning of the season,” said Schroeder of going to state. “We’re both sophomores, and we’re not super experienced playing tennis.
“But I think we just want to go there, and see if we can win,” she said. “Hopefully we’ll win, and just have fun, because it’s all about the experience.”
Overall, Krusa said she had a very young group this season, with no seniors and six brand-new players on the team, as the No. 3 doubles team of Briar Armatowski and Emily Rosenthal advanced to Sectionals, Julia Storch was a win short of moving on to Sectionals at No. 4 singles, and Schroeder and Stolt earned a trip to Madison.
“We had a young team, we’re not going to be graduating any seniors, and hopefully we’ll get a few more girls out and improve on it,” said Krusa. “We’re going to have another growing season next year, but it’s going to be a better growing season.
“But the team really clicked together this year, they all get along, and as long as everybody gets along, we’re going to have a good time, and that’s what happened,” she said. “We probably lost more than we won, but we had a good time doing it, and we’re still getting people advancing to state.”