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Tennis: Royals have surprise start to the season

Emmy Ellington returns a forehand during her singles match Tuesday, Sept. 5, against East Ridge. Blaze Fugina / RiverTown Multimedia

The Woodbury girls' tennis team did not have a lot of varsity experience returning at the start of the season.

Eight seniors graduated from last season, and singles player Delaney Schurhamer also decided not to play tennis.

But while the Royals only have three of their top-10 players returning from last year, they still have been competitive in the Suburban East Conference. The Royals have started the SEC schedule 2-1, with the only loss coming 4-3 against an experienced East Ridge team.

"I knew I had some fighters, but I was pleasantly surprised with the results here," head coach Brandon Heath said.

Rain halted the Woodbury and East Ridge dual meet Sept. 5 with the score tied 3-3 and one match still going. Woodbury's Jaylin Tuman trailed East Ridge's Molly Kammann 2-5 in the third set when the rain started.

When the match resumed the next day, Tuman won three consecutive games to push the score to 5-5 before Kammann eventually won the third set 7-5.

Although she ended up falling short, Heath was happy with the effort.

"We told her and to the team that she did a great job," Heath said. "I know a lot of the girls were happy that it was Jaylin playing and not one of them."

In close dual meets, the score is often decided by the closest and most competitive match of the day that takes the longest to finish.

"You never know where it's going to fall," Heath said. "And it typically does fall to those four singles and third doubles.

Woodbury defeated Cretin-Derham Hall 5-2 at home Aug. 31 and also won at Park 7-0 on Sept. 7 to start the SEC schedule.

The Royals are scheduled to next play Roseville at home Thursday, Sept. 14.

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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