A clean sweep

Recent scores have indicated how much the Alpena girls tennis team continues to improve and the Wildcats took a huge step in the right direction, defeating Grayling 8-0 on Wednesday at Alpena High School.

Both schools featured young teams out on the courts as Grayling graduated a handful of kids from last year’s team and the Wildcats are still relatively young themselves, but Alpena continues to get comfortable and more confident each day and it showed on Wednesday.

“I am extremely proud of the girls and obviously the work that they put in during the offseason is paying off. It was really nice to see them do well at home like they did today. I was proud of the way they played, but more proud of how they acted. It is my goal as a coach to see this behavior win or lose. I am always proud of who my girls are on the court no matter the outcome,” Alpena coach Charlie Giordano said.

Alpena started the day led by their No. 1 doubles team of Katherine Sharp and Emily Kozlowski, who won 6-0 and 6-0. Jordan Sengenberger and Macy Cosbitt also won 6-0 and 6-0 at No. 2 doubles. Angela Salacata and Brynna Smith were victorious 6-0 and 6-1 at No.3 doubles and Priya Pokorzynski and Taylor Belanger won 6-0 and 6-1 at No. 4 doubles.

The winning did not stop there as the singles competitors put on a clinic as well. Alivia Bowers earned a hard fought win at No.1 singles, defeating Grayling’s Riley Morley, 6-1 and 6-3. Kaitlyn Schultz won at No. 2 singles 6-1 and 6-0. Kayla Bullock kept up her strong play with a win at No. 3 singles, 6-1 and 6-1. Katie Nicholson was the final victor for the Wildcats at No. 4 singles, 6-0 and 6-1.

A day like this will go a long way in building the confidence for a young Alpena squad and the team continues to gain more confidence each time that they’re out on the court.

“Gaining that confidence is huge. The girls talk about about individual goals and what they want to work on, but when you go out and do those things and get a win, it’s really nice,” Giordano said.

Alpena will will have a quick turnaround as they are back in action today, hosting Harbor Springs who is expected to be another worthy opponent and one the Wildcats are familiar with.

“Harbor Springs is tough, we play them every year and sometimes we lose bad to them, other times the matches are really close, it’s kind of a crap shoot. Half of their roster plays year round, but the lower end of their lineup can be weak. I think we are a lot more consistent through our lineup than we have been in all the flights and I’m hoping to do better against them this year than we have been in the past,” Giordano said.

Jonny Zawacki can be reached via email at jzawacki@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5690.