Tennis Tigers roll in Big 9 opener

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 27, 2003

MANKATO &045; In recent years, the Big Nine opener has usually been a bit of a rough outing for the Albert Lea High School girls’ tennis team.

It was again.

For the opponents.

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The Tigers rolled to a 6-1 victory at Mankato West in their first conference meet of the season Tuesday.

&uot;We’re always happy with a win,&uot; said ALHS coach Sean Gillam, whose team was edged 4-3 by United South Central in its season opener last week. &uot;Mankato West has a real nice young team, and they’ll be a force to be reckoned with in a year or two. We saw some things we need to improve on.&uot;

Senior Karen Leonard was the most dominant player, winning 6-0, 6-0 at No. 2 singles. Elizabeth Thompson was almost as efficient at No. 3 singles, where she won 6-0, 6-1. Becky Birkhofer also won in straight sets, 6-2 and 6-4, in the No. 1 singles slot.

Amanda Leonard made her varsity singles debut at No. 4 and lost 6-2, 6-1.

Two of the Tigers’ three doubles teams swept.

Seniors Ashley Helgerson and Nicole Rafdal cruised 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1 doubles, while Amanda Rose and Kristin Wulff won 6-3, 6-4 at No. 2.

Anne Trebil and Marisa Christopherson rallied to win 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 at No. 3 doubles.

The Tigers’ Monday meet at Waseca was rescheduled for today. Albert Lea will face Waseca at 1 p.m. and Marshall at 3. The home opener is Thursday against Owatonna at 4:30 on the Southwest Middle School courts.