VERMILLION — Though the Vermillion Tanagers took some tough hits on their girls' tennis team, losing three of their top six players, the optimisim remains for the returning golfers to play consistently.
"We lost three varsity members from our team from last year," head coach Dan Hanson said. "One tough thing that we are faced with is that we're lacking numbers a little bit, but we are looking for the girls' to show that they can compete and play tough teams throughout the season."
Among the losses were Kayla Munger, who played at flight two, as well as twins Kasey and Kelly Nielsen, who sat fourth and fifth in the mix, respectively.
The Tanagers do have one player coming back after season-ending surgery last year, Valerie Robinson (Jr.), who is set to be number two on this season's roster.
"Valerie was going to be our number two player last year, but she blew her knee out in basketball during the summer," Hanson said. "She is back now and we are excited to see what she is able to bring to the table."
Junior Claire Jones returns as the team's No. 1 player.
"Our one and two players are junior, so we are really looking forward to them help lead the team this season," Hanson said. "We hoping that they push the other girls to practice hard and play hard during their matches."
Senior Lindsay Robinet finished last season third in Vermillion's lineup and she is going to continue where she left off this season.
"Lindsay is our lone senior that is on the team this year," Hanson said. "She'll be playing number three again this year."
Dylan Daniels had a solid season with the Tanager last season and Hanson said that she will be a key part of gaining points at their dual and matches.
"Our number four girl this year will be Dylan again," he said. "She was also our number four last year and she will be a big contributor to our team."
The Tanagers have a strong players one through three, but Hanson said that they are going to have a tough against some of the other competition in South Dakota.
"We don't have a really big team this year," he said. "We've been practicing for right around a week and we have eight girls on our roster."
"Some of the other bigger schools in South Dakota are solid through their top 10 girls," he added. "We drop off after you hit our five, six, seven then skill level drops off from our lack of pool of kids to pick from."
The youth of Vermillion is hoping to blossom this year to get the Tanagers back into the swing of things this season.
"Last year our team won five matches," Hanson said. "I think this year we are hoping to win three or four, we need everyone to stay positive and it tough to play against competition in our class.
"We need to keep moving forward and they need to learn not to come down on themselves and learn from their mistakes."
The road starting out for Vermillion is going to be tough one with in a quadrangular in Yankton this Saturday against some of the toughest competition in the state, including Rapid City Stevens, Watertown and Yankton.
"This past week, we have been doing a lot of running and a lot of condition to get back into shape a little bit," Hanson said. "This week we will doing a lot of drills to get back into the groove of things.
"We are doing as many drills and repetition as we can just to get them ready for their first match this Saturday."