At last week’s WIAA Division 2 State Girls Individual Tennis Tournament, Roncalli’s No. 1 doubles pair of senior Abby Halla and freshman Tallie Piaskowski attempted to become the first duo in program history to go an entire season undefeated.
Now it’s the rest of the team’s turn to take a whack at making a program first.
At 9 a.m. on Saturday Roncalli is set to take on Edgewood in the first round of the four-team WIAA Division 2 State Girls Team Tennis Tournament at Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison. If the Jets advance, they would take on the winner of the Regis-University School of Milwaukee matchup in the championship match at 2 p.m. the same day.
With a pair of wins, Roncalli would win the program’s first state team championship, with the Jets’ first-and-only appearance in the tournament coming in coach Mike Halla’s first year with the squad in 2006. Roncalli finished as the runner-up in that year’s bracket.
“It’s a really big thing to qualify (for the state team tournament). You feel real fortunate, but we have what we think is a strong team,” coach Halla said. “We feel good about (our chances) and it’s one of those rare opportunities that doesn’t come along very often.”
Edgewood is one of the few top-ranked Division 2 tennis teams that Roncalli did not face this year. The Jets have consistently scheduled perennial state contenders as part of its non-conference schedule to prepare itself for the postseason, with the squad having annual matchups with Edgewood up until a few years ago when a new coach was hired by Edgewood and the decision was made to end the yearly contests.
“On paper they look to be similar to us,” Halla said. “Our scores against common opponents are similar. We’re expecting a hard-fought battle in all of the flights.”
Abby Halla and Piaskowski (31-1) will have a rematch with Edgewood’s No. 1 doubles pair of seniors Morgan Molitor and Lauren Keller (29-3), who handed Halla-Piaskowski their only loss with a 6-2, 6-4 defeat in the state individual tournament championship match.
Also in doubles, Roncalli’s individual State-qualifying No. 2 pair of seniors Catherine Taddy and Sophie Pitz (20-4) will face Edgewood individual State-qualifying seniors Marigrace Carney and Natalie Meicher (22-4). In No. 3 doubles, Edgewood’s individual State-qualifying pair of junior Martha Longley and senior Maggie Seibert (22-6) play Roncalli senior Anne Platteter and sophomore Hannah Kubsch (12-6).
In singles, two individual State qualifiers will face off in the No. 1 flight as Roncalli senior Elizabeth Kuenzi (26-5) will take on Edgewood senior Sara Murphy (23-11). Both squad’s No. 2 players were also individual State qualifiers with Roncalli senior Emily Halvorsen (23-7) playing Edgewood senior Marieke VanRyborek (17-10).
At No. 3, Roncalli sophomore Chloe Kitzerow (23-3) will face Edgewood individual state qualifier senior Jessie O’Brien (25-3) and at No. 4 Jets junior Laura Platteter (15-6) will face Edgewood junior Kate Zellmer (19-6).
“I think we have been looking toward to team state all along. In past years, when we didn’t qualify for team state, only the girls competing in the individual state tournament would keep practicing after the regular season ended, but this year the full varsity (squad) practiced all of last week,” coach Halla said. “We have been gearing up for team State. … We are going to need every win we can get.”