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SERVING UP AN ACE

LYNX OWN SINGLES, END NEARLY 5-YEAR DROUGHT

WCHS No. 4 singles player Makaylee Draeger lunges for a return during her match against North Polk’s Reece Muhlena on Monday at the Lynx courts. Draeger claimed a 10-5 win and was also successful in doubles to help WCHS knock off the Comets, 5-4. It was the Lynx first meet victory since May 5, 2016. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

WEBSTER CITY — Several of the players were in middle school, a few others resided in elementary school the last time the Webster City girls’ tennis team experienced the joy of a meet victory.

But that drought is over now. After nearly five years of disappointment, the Lynx know what a win feels like. And that it came in the season opener only made it that much sweeter.

Behind four wins in singles play, WCHS gained the upper-hand early and held on in doubles to knock off North Polk, 5-4, on a warm and breezy Monday evening at the Lynx courts. And head coach Mark Fisher thinks it’s just the beginning.

“It was a great win to start the season,” Fisher said. “The girls have been working extremely hard and have had a few good weeks of practice. I know there were some nerves, but they did a great job of sticking to their game plans and competing.”

Prior to Monday, the Lynx last win came on May 5, 2016 — a 5-4 win over St. Edmond. They were held winless in 2017, 2018 and 2019; the 2020 season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

WCHS No. 1 singles player Kayley Wibholm rips a forehand winner in her 10-6 victory over North Polk’s Asima Pandzic on Monday. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Kayley Wibholm, Mackenzy Burney, Makaylee Draeger and McKinzey Koestner powered WCHS to the lead with singles wins, and the doubles team of Burney and Draeger clinched the victory.

Playing in the lead-off spot for WCHS, Wibholm fought the wind and hung out on the baseline primarily to dispose of the Comets Asima Pandzic, 10-6. Burney, the team’s No. 2 player, took control of her match against Grace Ethofer late to secure a 10-7 win.

“I’m so happy for Kayley,” Fisher said. “She has really turned into a leader with the team this year and has been just as valuable with her work with our culture and the other girls as what she does on the court. She stayed composed and executed really well.

“The same for Mackenzie. I’m just so happy with the adjustments she made within her match to really take over. She’s become such a smart player.”

Draeger smothered Muhlena and lived at the net en route to a wire-to-wire 10-5 win. Koestner, a freshman making her varsity debut, weathered early nerves to take out Grace Rasmussen, 10-8.

Lynx No. 2 player Mackenzie Burney is unable to come up with a lunging winner on the run on Monday. She knocked off North Polk’s Grace Ethofer, 10-7. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

“I was so impressed with Makaylee’s mental game,” Fisher said. “And I can’t say enough about Kinzey Koestner. She took her match from 8-8 and dominated the last two games to essentially seal the team win.”

Joslin Gourley, playing in the No. 3 singles position for WCHS, fought to the bitter end in an 11-9 loss to Braedynn Batson.

Burney and Draeger built a sizable lead early on as Koestner was wrapping up her singles win, and the duo steamed bast Batson and Muhlena, 10-4.

North Polk took the other two doubles matches.

“We obviously would have liked a little better showing across the board with doubles, which gives us something to work on right away,” Fisher said. “But I thought our singles tactics and execution were pretty solid.”

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

The WCHS junior varsity players split 10 sets with North Polk in doubles. Mackenzie Malone and Zoie Timm won three sets together, while the duos of Anna Atchison and Keyla Martinez, and Carla Garcia and Emma Stroner both claimed one set.

The Lynx will be back on their home courts Thursday afternoon to host Hampton-Dumont/CAL at 4:30 p.m.

Webster City 5, North Polk 4

Monday at Webster City

Singles

No. 1: Kayley Wibholm (WC) def. Asima Pandzic, 10-6.

No. 2: Mackenzie Burney (WC) def. Grace Ethofer, 10-7.

No. 3: Braedynn Batson (NP) def. Joslin Gourley, 11-9.

No. 4: Makaylee Draeger (WC) def. Reece Muhlena, 10-5.

No. 5: Faith Sardou (NP) def. Carla Garcia, 10-1.

No. 6: McKinzey Koestner (WC) def. Grace Rasmussen, 10-8.

Doubles

No. 1: Pandzic/Ethofer (NP) def. Wibholm/Gourley, 10-2.

No. 2: Burney/Draeger (WC) def. Batson/Muhlena, 10-4.

No. 3: Grace Vande Krol/Hannah Houston (NP) def. Koestner/Jordyn Sullivan, 10-3.

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