HUDSON, Wis. -- Hudson girls’ tennis coach John Dahl said there were a lot of happy players on the team last week -- and it wasn’t just because the Raiders beat Menomonie twice.

“First, I want to let the school board know how grateful we are for the opportunity to make this work,” Dahl said. “These are very trying times for everyone in our district, especially the leadership. They have had to make so many tough calls with no guaranteed outcomes. But I know we have 54 girls very happy to be playing tennis right now.”

Dahl said with all the precautions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, this season will be anything but normal. But he said the girls are making the best of it.

“We have had moments though in the middle of a practice or during the Menomonie matches where it's felt a little like the good old days,” he said.

The good old days for the Raiders also included a lot of success in the Big Rivers Conference, and they kept up that trend by making easy work of Menomonie in their first two BRC matches last week-- 6-1 Tuesday, Aug. 25, in Menomonie and 7-0 Thursday, Aug. 27, in Hudson.

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After being pushed to three sets Tuesday in Menomonie, Hudson No. 1 singles player Sophie Jonas cruised to a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Mustang No. 1 Haley Hastings Thursday afternoon.

Lily Holmberg, at No. 2 singles, and Grace Diedrich at No. 3, both beat their same Menomonie opponents twice while Claire Keech moved into the Raider lineup Thursday at No. 4 singles to beat Menomonie’s Sammy Jacobson 6-0, 6-3, after Jacobson registered the only Mustang win two days earlier.

Hudson’s Jordan Yacoub hits a drop shot in her match with No. 1 doubles partner Jordan Yacoub in their straight set win over Menomonie Thursday, Aug. 27, in Hudson. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia
Hudson’s Jordan Yacoub hits a drop shot in her match with No. 1 doubles partner Jordan Yacoub in their straight set win over Menomonie Thursday, Aug. 27, in Hudson. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia

Keech had teamed up with Bailey Finch for a 6-1, 6-2, win at No. 3 doubles Tuesday in Menomonie while Sophie Pope and Finch earned a 6-1, 6-2, victory at the No. 3 doubles spot Thursday afternoon.

The Raider No. 1 doubles team of Livi Boily and Jordan Yacoub, and the No. 2 team of Grace Lewis and Kira Young, recorded straight set wins in both matches.

Dahl said he liked what he saw in the first two matches of the season against the Mustangs.

“We have a great group of girls returning from last year and a few newcomers to the varsity line up,” he said. “Senior Sophie Pope and juniors Claire Keech, Bailey Fincc and Kira Young were able to step up and secure their first varsity win and help the team get a solid win against a quality team.”

Dahl said the Raiders will try to keep it going in two matches this week against Chippewa Falls -- Monday, Aug. 31, at home and Thursday, Sept. 3, in Chippewa Falls.