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WIAA state team tennis preview: Middleton, Verona chasing top-seeded, unbeaten Neenah in four-team field
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WIAA STATE TEAM GIRLS TENNIS PREVIEW

WIAA state team tennis preview: Middleton, Verona chasing top-seeded, unbeaten Neenah in four-team field

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THE BASICS

What: The WIAA spring state girls team tennis tournament.

When: Saturday.

Where: Menard Tennis Club, Eau Claire.

Tickets: Only four spectators per participant will be allowed to attend, with tickets. COVID-19 protocols will be observed.

On the Web: Schedules, match results and tournament history can be found at www.wiaawi.org/Sports/Fall/Girls-Tennis/Tournament.

Format: Teams qualified by winning one of four sectionals. A total of 42 tearms participated in the alternate spring season.

Schedule: Semifinals — No. 4-seeded Verona (9-6) vs. No. 1 Neenah (15-0), 9 a.m.; No. 2 Middleton (7-2) vs. No. 3 Ashwaubenon (8-3) , 11 a.m. Championship — Semifinal winners meet, 1:30 p.m.

THE LOWDOWN

Middleton is making its eighth team state trip and first since 2014. Coach Matt Given’s Cardinals won the Division 1 title in 2019. During the regular season, the Cardinals lost to Neenah, 6-1, and Eau Claire Memorial, 4-3, and beat Verona and Ashwaubenon by 4-3 scores. Freshman No. 1 singles player Netra Somasundaram (14-3) earned a fifth-place finish at individual state, and sophomore Sophia Agapov (7-1) fell in the second round at No. 2. In doubles, seniors Karsen Dettman and Noor Rajpal (8-1) finished third at state, and the No. 2 pair of junior Rose Ryan and senior Cece Hujanen (7-1) fell in the first round. The No. 3 pair of senior Charlotte Sax and freshman Caroline Sax are 6-0.

Verona won its sectional to earn its third team state berth and first since 2002. Coach Mark Happel’s Wildcats lost consecutive matches to Neenah, De Pere, Eau Claire Memorial and Middleton early in the season, and then lost to Oshkosh West and Janesville Craig late in the regular season. No. 1 singles player Samantha Breitbach (5-11), a junior, lost her first-round match at individual state. In doubles, junior Morgan Kreuser and sophomore Julie Huseth (10-9) lost their first-round match at state. Sophomore Zoe Qureshi as 15-3 at No. 3 singles and senior Hannah Bertrand is 15-1 at No. 4.

Neenah earned its 18th team state berth and ninth in a row and is seeking what would be its first state title since 2015. Coach Kyle Falk’s Rockets also have six runner-up finishes. In 15 duals, the Rockets built a match record of 95-10, beating all three of the other state qualifiers in regular-season duals. Junior No. 1 singles player Ava Dunsim (18-1) took third at individual state and freshman No. 2 player Noah Paape (16-1) lost her first-round match. In doubles, No. 1 junior Sophia Paape and sophomore Shelby Roth (15-1) won the state championship and at No. 2, sophomore Elizabeth Risgaard and freshman Annalise Zenzick (10-2) made the round of eight.

Ashwaubenon won a repeat state berth after falling in a 2019 quarterfinal. Coach Murray Gleffe’s Jaguars lost consecutive midseason matches to Eau Claire Memorial, Middleton and Neenah. At individual state, junior Natasha Schiegg (8-6) at No. 1 and junior Puja Patel (9-6) at No. 2 both lost their first-round matches; in doubles, No. 1 juniors Delaney Christensen and Courtney Behnke (8-7) lost their opening match. Junior Aneesha Prathigudpu is 12-2 at No. 3 singles and freshman Jordan Domnick is 12-2 at No. 4.

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