Starting with a win

The Alpena High School girls tennis team started its season out right on Monday at the APlex, winning six out of eight sets against Grayling in front of a healthy hometown crowd.

“It feels good to start at home and good to get some good, strong matches in,” Alpena coach Charlie Giordano said. “We had a couple of butterflies early in the day, but those cleared up nice, even in the young players.”

Grayling is not a Big North conference opponent, but plays against Alpena at least once a year to test the skills of its players.

“We always like playing against Alpena. They’re a good, challenging team and they’re real nice girls. Really well coached too,” Grayling coach Mark Sloan said.

Alpena won almost every singles set against Grayling. No. 1 singles Katie Cook picked up an 8-3 win against Carlie Sloan. No. 2 singles Carlee Giordano swept Katie Proffitt 8-0 and No.4 singles Alivia Bowers beat Riley Morley 8-2.

Alpena No. 3 singles Sydney Heise fell 9-7 against Hailey Petty. Heise was down 7-6, but won the next set to tie it up 7-7.

Petty downed Heise in the next set to take an 8-7 lead. Heise had rallied to narrow Petty’s lead to 40-30, but lost the set point.

Three out of four Alpena’s doubles teams picked up wins in a strong showing that could bode well for the future of the younger players that make up the doubles teams.

“It was great. Everybody was doing what they were supposed to tonight. The back row double players were sweeping the back court and returning the ball well. The front players were attacking the net,” Giordano said. “The singles players focused on getting ‘one more ball’ and staying focused in their volleys.”

The only doubles loss came when No. 1 doubles Macy Cosbitt and Lindsay Moggie fell 8-1. No. 2 doubles Maren Hines and Jordan Sengenberger picked up an 8-2 win.

No. 3 doubles Angela Salcata and Kayla Bullock picked up an 8-0 sweep as did No. 4 doubles Kaitlyn Schultz and Priya Pokorzynski.

The Wildcats host Harbor Springs on Wednesday in a match that, weather permitting, may or may not be held outdoors.

“Well, you always want to play outdoors. Its so much better to play outside and the girls love it out there,” Giordano said. “The courts aren’t too bad right now, but it really depends on how wet it gets in the next few days.”

Eric Benac can be reached via email at ebenac@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.