Girls Junior Varsity Tennis, Girls Varsity Tennis · New Life Academy Tennis: Captains lead way for Eagles (Woodbury Bulletin)

 Marcia Bussey has lauded her captains, senior Krista Haglund and juniors Jessica Gross and Rachel Breiholz, all season, praising their play on the court and their conduct off it.

And last week was no exception.

That trio led the New Life Academy girls tennis team against arguably its toughest competition of the season. The team lost three of its four matches, including two against section opponents, but the three captains played well, Bussey said.

“Those three girls, as the captains of the team, are really good leaders,” she said. “They are extremely positive as they deal with the other girls and the fun things they plan.”

Their leadership extends to the court, too, where each captain played several competitive matches last week.

Haglund on Sept. 22 won a match against Cannon Falls’ No. 1 singles player. On Saturday, she lost 6-1, 6-0 to Winona Cotter sophomore Cindy Li, the seventh-ranked player in Class A.

“It was a lot closer than that,” Bussey said.

Gross, who plays No. 2 singles, won her match against Cannon Falls and won 6-0, 6-0 against her Winona Cotter opponent.

Breiholz, who plays No. 1 doubles with freshman Siri Nicol, won her match against Winona Cotter, too. Against Simley on Sept. 21, she and Nicol played a close match, eventually losing in a 14-12 tiebreak.

New Life Academy lost the Simley match 7-0.

Haglund is the lone senior on the team and leads by her effort, Bussey said. She moves around the court well and also strikes the ball well.

Those are skills on which the whole team has improved since mid-August, Bussey said.

The improvement appears to be leading to more competitive matches.

New Life Academy lost 5-2 to Cannon Falls on Tuesday, the No. 9 team in Class A. On Saturday, it defeated a team from Durand, Wisconsin, 6-1, before losing 4-3 to Winona Cotter.

Gross and sophomores Tori Moorman and Emme Fry won matches against Winona Cotter.

New Life Academy has matches against North St. Paul on Thursday and against Como Park on Friday before the Class 1A, Section 1 Tournament next week. The team has played seven of its eight section opponents this season, and Bussey said she expects to play a tough opponent in the first round.

The Section 1 team tournament runs Oct. 7-12 in Rochester, followed by the individual sections Oct. 14 and Oct. 20 in Owatonna.