2018-05-17 / Sports

Raiders set to hold court at regionals

By Lisa Paine
810-452-2626 • lpaine@mihomepaper.com

Flushing’s Parkur Launstein returns a shot at No. 2 Singles. 
Photo by Todd Boone Flushing’s Parkur Launstein returns a shot at No. 2 Singles. Photo by Todd Boone FLINT – The Flushing girls’ tennis team, 6-1 Flint Metro League, will have to contend with just one ranked team in its regional today. Traverse City Central holds a No. 7 ranking in Div. 2.

No other team is ranked, but the competition is full of stout teams and those still rebuilding their programs after decimation from last spring’s graduation. Host Kearsley is 2-5 Metro League, Clio is 3-3-1. Mt. Pleasant just placed fourth at the Saginaw Valley League meet last week, while Midland and Bay City Central were eighth and 11th, respectively. Alpena, Petoskey and Bay City Western are the unknowns in the mix, leaving Flushing in a really good position to qualify.

Flushing is 10-3-1 overall and shut out Kearsley 8-0, and beat Alpena 5-3 and Clio 6-2 this season. How the squad does against the rest of the field remains to be seen, but judging by its record, Flushing has a great shot at advancing to the state meet if it can earn the 18 points.

Flushing’s veteran lineup includes Casey Kramer at No. 1 Singles. She played No. 2 last year. Parkur Launstein is at No. 2, Anna Kearney at No. 3 and Molly Mitchell at No. 4. The doubles pairings include Lindsey Luff-Taylor Wendling at No. 1, Quincy Davis-Maddie Morrison at No. 2, Gillian Besko-Peytan Calvert at No. 3 and Sydney Mott-Melissa Ibrahim at No. 4.

“We will definitely have our work cut out for us this week at the Regional Tournament,” said Flushing coach Evan Pougnet. “After just missing the cut to make it to States by one point last season and placing third, we are equally as hungry to get back on the court to compete for a spot to qualify. Similar to last year, a lot will be riding on the seed meeting and how the draw will stack up. However, I do not like to focus on the bracket and rather choose to place the energy on our strengths on the court and our ability to win one match at a time.

“Looking back to the beginning of the season, we had a considerably slow start dealing with limited practice time while combating severe weather conditions. I believe that negatively affected our team connectivity, confidence, and preparedness. That all really seemed to turn around after our third match with Owosso. We had a commanding 8-0 win, which was followed by a definite shift in attitudes, levels of intensity, and feeling more cohesive. We were right where I thought we should be in terms of our capability of performing as a team; it set the tone for the rest of the season to grow bigger and better.

“That said, I cannot be more pleased with our group of ladies this year and how hard they have worked. Everyone has improved and met personal goals and that makes me extremely proud. Heading into Regionals, I do not have a single athlete with a losing record. That says a lot about our grit, determination, and will to fight out there. This is exactly what we will take to the tournament that will be necessary to beat the teams like Traverse City Central and Petoskey, who just barely stopped us last year.”

Pougnet singled out several players for success.

“I would keep an eye on No. 3 singles player, junior Anna Kearney, who has a 12-3 record and great chance to succeed, as well as the No. 2 doubles team of juniors Quincy Davis and Maddie Morrison, who have a 10-3 overall record,” said Pougnet. “I am undoubtedly confident we have the talent to compete at the State level, but it is going to come down to how bad this team wants it and how aggressive and smart we can play to exploit the opponent’s weaknesses. Everyone is beatable. So, it is going to be another close year, but I am excited for my Lady Raiders to go out and give it their best!”

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