T-Bird Emma Rose returns a serve during a doubles match against Medford on Saturday, Sept. 8, at Lakeland Union High School.
T-Bird Emma Rose returns a serve during a doubles match against Medford on Saturday, Sept. 8, at Lakeland Union High School.

The Lakeland Union High School girls’ tennis team picked up its first Great Northern Conference win of the season on Thursday, defeating Phillips 7-0 at the LUHS tennis courts, but didn’t have the same fortune against a couple of GNC schools in a non-conference dual on Saturday — swept at home by both Medford and Stevens Point Pacelli.
Despite Saturday’s losses, Lakeland coach Tom Oestreich characterized the day as a step in the right direction. He said he saw the improvement the team has been showing in practice finally translate into competition.
“Today was the first day that the girls really hit like they’ve been hitting in practice the last two weeks,” he said. “They hit the ball with nice pace and with confidence. Today was the first time, both matches, that I saw all the girls as a team hitting that same way in a match. That was good to see.”
Though the T-Birds didn’t pick up any wins Saturday, they had several close matches — especially in the dual against Pacelli — seeing three of the seven flights go to decisive super tiebreakers. Reilly Coon fell to Pacelli’s Stephie Vaughn 4-6, 6-4, 10-3 at No. 1 singles, Lorainne Hammes had a 6-1, 4-6, 10-6 defeat to Amanda Lansing at No. 4 singles and the No. 3 doubles team of Julie Neuberg and Emma Rose fell to Leah Shibilski and Tessa Rogers 6-3, 4-6, 10-8.
Additionally, Tessa Tourmoen had a competitive 6-4, 7-5 loss to Pacelli’s Maria Stolt at No. 3 singles and Linnea Turner fell 6-4, 6-0 to Pacelli’s Dani Mengel in the second flight.
“I’ve been working with Linnea Turner at practice to get some pace on her forehand,” Oestreich noted. “We just did a bunch of work with her last night. Today, her scores didn’t reflect it but she was hitting the ball well today.
“Tessa, both of (her) matches could have gone either way,” he continue. “She’s really starting to hit the ball with confidence. That’s good to see. Lorraine Hammes has been moved into that No. 4 position. There she split sets and lost in a super tiebreaker. She’s been really improving quickly at practice, so we moved her into the No. 4 position and she’s been doing a nice job.”
Coon and Tourmoen had the closes matches in the dual against Medford. Coon fell to Megan Payne 6-1, 6-4 in the top flight while Tourmoen lost to Kailee Mann 7-5, 6-2 at No. 3 singles.

Lakeland 7, Phillips 0
The T-Birds won a dual meet for the first time since the season-opener against D.C. Everest in August, defeating Phillips 7-0 Thursday at the LUHS tennis courts. All seven matches were decided in straight sets.
“Definitely a nice team win,” Oestreich said. “It was a good confidence booster for all the girls. Like I said, we’ve been seeing the improvement in practice and finally to get that result, to get that win as a team, was a definite confidence booster.”
The closest match of the bunch came at No. 2 singles, where Turner fended off Trinity Pesko 6-4, 6-2. Coon was a 6-2, 6-0 winner in the No. 1 flight, Tourmoen was a 6-0, 6-0 winner over Alyssa Huffman at No. 3 and Hammes defeated Sophia DeByl 6-1, 6-0 at No. 4.
The T-Birds did not drop a single game on their way to sweeping the three doubles matches. The teams of Hayley Fieck and Anna Maulson, Kiah Guthrie and Neuberg and Cierra Hayman and Brie Nimsgern were all 6-0, 6-0 winners.

Tough week ahead
The T-Birds face a difficult stretch beginning today as they prepare to face the top two teams in the Great Northern Conference in succession. Lakeland travels to conference-leading Antigo this afternoon and then will host second-place Rhinelander on Thursday.
“Two big powerhouses this week and I’ll keep telling the girls I’m not terribly concerned about the scores as long as we see each one of them improving and working on the things we’ve been working on in practice,” he said. “Both are great teams and they will be tough matches.”
Lakeland will close out the week with a quadrangular meet at Wisconsin Rapids on Saturday.
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at jeremy@rivernewsonline.com.