With a new face leading Lake City girls’ tennis this year, the team began its season Tuesday facing a familiar foe. First-year head coach Dena Huettl, a 1991 Lake City graduate who played varsity tennis for the Tigers, took over the lead role from longtime coach Dave Toole this fall. Toole, who is still part of the program as an assistant, was Huettl’s coach nearly 30 years ago.
As for the opponent? Lake City opened its season the same way it ended its last — a 5-2 loss to Stewartville. Last fall, Lake City faced Stewartville in the second round of the Section 1A team tournament and won one singles and doubles match for the day. Ten months later, the results were nearly identical as Lake City again won one singles and doubles match.
At No. 2 singles, Kaylee Muenzhuber defeated Miah Mikel of Stewartville after winning the tiebreaker, 10-8. Muenzhuber won the first set 7-5 and lost the second 6-4.
In doubles, the No. 1 team of Dorothy Holland and Molly Kennedy defeated Stewartville’s team of Kendall Clausen and Tessa Lanzel by taking the tiebreaker 10-6. The Lake City duo dropped the first set 6-4 before rebounding to take the second 6-4.
The remainder of the Lake City lineup was unable to get a set win.
Prior to the match, Huettl said that no matter the outcome of their first match, she and the team were just excited to compete once again.
“One thing that I’ve noticed watching some of the girls — they are a fun, fun group of girls, just easy-going,” she said.
That group consists of five seniors — two of which switched from volleyball to tennis this fall — as well as three juniors and six sophomores that could log time on the varsity lineup.
With consistent participation all the way down to seventh grade, Huettl said that a primary goal of hers for the remainder of the season is to forge stronger bonds within each level of the tennis program.
“I’m excited to get into a sport that isn’t high spotlight, and I can work with the girls on creating relationships,” she said.
Lake City is set to host its first match of the season at 10 a.m. Friday when Cannon Falls visits.