By Mike Ramczyk
Last season’s Burlington girls tennis squad was the first tennis team in school history, male or female, to make team state.
The Lady Demons were second in the Southern Lakes Conference behind Union Grove.
But it’s a new year, and head coach Rose Dolatowski, now in her 26th season, has a tough challenge.
She must field all new doubles team after the loss of last year’s 1 and 3 doubles teams and half of the 2 doubles.
All singles players are back, but Dolatowski said replacing the doubles has been a challenge.
“We must find someone to play with Lydia Crabtree, who made individual state as a doubles player last year,” Dolatowski said.
In last weekend’s first action of the season, the Beaver Dam quad, No. 2 singles player Sophie Grandi teamed with Crabtree.
Burlington went 2-1, with its only loss a 4-3 defeat to Kettle Moraine, the same result from last year’s tournament.
“It’s exactly how we did last year,” Dolatowski said. “I’m excited about that with all of our new doubles. We would still like to have one more doubles team.”
The singles, on the other hand, are stronger than ever, with a full lineup. Sophomore Lacey Londre is at No. 1, followed by Grandi, Coral Miller and Emily Crabtree.
“That’s great, we’re spoiled,” Dolatowski said. “We had the same doubles teams for the last few years.”
Transfer student Hannah Cook, who played No. 3 singles last year for the Prairie School, will play some No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles.
Other potential doubles starters are senior Amy Delaney, who played doubles last year, Alyssa Caliva. Sophomore Katie Daujotas and freshman Whitney Miller will play No. 3 doubles.
Dolatowski is confident her team can beat the likes of Badger and Waterford and finish near or at the top of the SLC.
“Our singles are strong,” she said. “If we can get one win at doubles, we should be fine.”
This Friday and Saturday, Burlington will compete in a tournament in Janesville.
Dolatowski hopes to see improvement from the doubles girls.
“I’d like a little more aggressive play from the doubles,” she said. “We had a couple girls who were really nervous last weekend. We need to take care of business on the court.”