'We are putting something together': Jorda, singles play among highlights in Midgets home opener against Williston
Following a successful showing during the season-opening weekend in Minot, the Dickinson High girls tennis team began its home schedule against Williston on Tuesday, April 16.
While many of the Midgets have had the opportunity to shake the rust off of their game, one particular player made her season debut.
Lauren Jorda, Dickinson's No. 2 tennis player, had her first competitive match of the 2019 season in a battle versus Coyotes junior Ellie Schmit.
The senior was slow out of the gate, but following a few games to catch a rhythm, she emerged with a 7-5, 7-5 singles victory. Jorda, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer last fall, missed the entirety of the winter sports season as she battled through chemotherapy.
"I didn't start off very well. It was kind of nerve wracking coming off of not playing basketball, and then being out of things. So that played a factor in the first couple of games," Jorda said. "I just stuck with it and I knew I would increase my consistency as I continued playing, so that helped. I tend to come back and have the longest matches on the team, so I just knew I could do it."
Jorda's match was the most tightly contested in singles play, as the Midgets swept the six singles matches en route to a 8-1 overall victory. Due to rain, the meeting between the two teams was moved 90 minutes and began outdoors at the Dickinson High tennis courts before transitioning to the West River Community Center.
"I just think that every girl went out there trying to get their job done, and they did," Midgets head coach Lia Bradley said. "They did what I thought they could do. ... I knew they could do it, they just had to prove it and step up and do it. Some of the matches were close, but they ended up getting the job done at the end."
Schmit jumped out to a 4-1 advantage in the first set before Jorda got going, cutting her deficit to 5-4. From there, the Midgets senior won the final three games in the opening frame, closing out Schmit with an ace. The two players traded games in the second set, but again, Jorda's serve was the difference, as she delivered a rocket on match point, which Schmit returned too long.
"Whenever my ground strokes aren't working, I really rely on my serve to bring me back into it," Jorda commented. "That's probably my strongest shot, but my forehand, running up to the net and being aggressive up close were important."
One court away from the Jorda/Schmit contest, Dickinson junior Anna Stankova dominated in her first match in home territory, defending Coyotes sophomore Chesni Strand 6-0, 6-0. Stankova, a foreign exchange student from the Czech Republic, has been working on her game since September and is happy with the results during this portion of the season.
"When I came here, I had a really bad serve," Stankova said. "So I had to work on my serve and with my forehand, I improved it a lot. I like to stay consistent with my forehand because it was alright, but it wasn't good enough. Now, I think I have good strokes."
In other singles action, Midgets freshman Emma Dazell and eighth-grader Malayna Schnieder each captured a two-set win. Sophomore Elizabeth Dean was a junior varsity replacement for senior Alexa Cofer, who was out of action after being under the weather. Dean defeated Coyotes junior Brooklyn Haug 6-4, 6-1.
As for Midgets No. 3 Valeria Bradley, she not only faced off against freshman Evelina Tyan but also battled 15-20 mile per hour wind gusts. Frustrated at times, the seventh-grader remained focused and outlasted Tyan 6-3, 6-4.
"When I was dealing with intense wind, my shots were going into the net," Bradley said. "I was mad, but I just thought that the match was almost done and I can win."
As the teams moved indoors, Williston earned its lone triumph of the day, as the No. 1 duo of Strand and Schmit defeated Jorda and Dazell in a three-set tiebreaker 0-6, 6-2, (7). Dickinson rebounded, though, as the duos of Stankova and Dean along with Bradley and Schnieder each won their doubles matches by the scores of 6-2, 6-3, and 6-3, 6-3, respectively.
"We haven't very strong in doubles in the past, so this makes me very happy because we've made that an emphasis the last few weeks to really work on doubles and really work on the net," Lia Bradley said. "It just gives me confidence for the future that finally we are putting something together with doubles."
Dickinson 8, Williston 1
Singles: 1, Anna Stankova, D, def. Chesni Strand, 6-0, 6-0. 2, Lauren Jorda, D, def. Ellie Schmit, 7-5, 7-5. 3, Valeria Bradley, D, def. Evelina Tyan, 6-3, 6-4. 4, Emma Dazell, D, def. Rachel Anfinson, 6-2, 6-1. 5, Malayna Schnieder, D, def. Shelby Meyer, 6-4, 6-3. 6, Elizabeth Dean, D, def. Brooklyn Haug, 6-4, 6-1.
Doubles: 1, Strand/Schmit, W, def. Jorda/Dazell 0-6, 6-2 (7). 2, Stankova/Dean, D, def. Tyan Anfinson, 6-2, 6-3. 3, Bradley/Schnieder, D, def. Maggie Borseth/Kaleigh Carmichael, 6-3, 6-3.