Youthful Majettes tennis aims to defend WDA and state titles

Ashton Gerard/MDN The Minot High School girls tennis team bundled up for practice at Hammond Park Thursday in preparation for their home opener today. Minot opens their home invitational against Williston at 9:15 a.m. at Cameron Indoor Tennis Center.

Last season, with a mix of youth and experience, the Minot High School girls tennis team earned its second straight West Region team title and went on to capture the state team title for the first time in 27 years. The Majettes were also the first team from the West to capture the state title since 2001. What had typically been an Eastern dominated sport in North Dakota had faced an unstoppable force from the West.

Now it’s time to restart, refocus and do it all again.

Losing three seniors and having an athlete move away may rattle some teams, but the Majettes are focused on bettering themselves at every single opportunity this season.

“Our top four (this year) all played for us at the state tournament last year, so we bring back a lot of experience,” MHS head coach Scott DeLorme said. “Even last year we talked about just getting better from day one and I think that’s going to be even more crucial this year.”

The team is going to be looking at its No. 1 through No. 4 players to bring a lot of leadership, wisdom and drive to the table as they begin the new season.

Raquel Egge and Joelle Fettig return to the team as veteran seniors with confidence in the team’s ability to remain on top.

“They’re doing a great job, they’ve both been playing for a long time,” DeLorme said. “Really from day one, they’re the two here who are early to practice, leading drills and they both do a good job making sure everybody is involved in some way and feel like a part of the team.”

Egge and Fettig aren’t shy about practicing with some of the younger girls and helping them feel welcomed to the team, which is something DeLorme thinks will come in handy during the postseason.

“I think it’s a little more quiet, but I think we’ll get the younger ones to kind of bump it up a little bit with us,” Fettig said about the team’s chemistry.

From a skills standpoint, DeLorme is confident that the younger athletes have the ability to keep up with girls around the state. It’s just getting them mentally prepared for a different level of play.

Personally for Egge, this season is about climbing the singles ladder and making a lasting impression on the sport in her senior season.

“Last year, I took third at WDA and fifth at state,” Egge said. “This year, I’d like to take first at WDA and third at state.”

The Majettes begin their season today in Minot with the Minot Invitational against Bismarck Century, Williston, Dickinson and Jamestown. The Majettes are scheduled to play a total of four matches. They will take on Williston at 9:15 a.m. at the Cameron Indoor Tennis Center. Then they will face Century at 12:15 p.m. Traveling to Hammond Park at 1:45 p.m., they will take on Jamestown — playing five doubles matches — before heading back to Cameron Indoor to face Dickinson at 3:15 p.m.

Saturday will be the Minot Round Robin event beginning at 9 a.m. at Hammond Park.

“Hopefully we can see where we stand and go from there,” Fettig said.

This weekend, DeLorme is expecting to see his veteran varsity players return to the courts in mid-season form and ready for whatever comes their way.

“We’ll spend a lot more time with our five, six, seven and eight (players) since it’s a new experience for them playing at this level,” DeLorme explained. “They were there to witness it (last year), but weren’t actually involved in the playing. So, we’ll have a big focus with them and trust our veterans to get the job done.”

The games Friday and Saturday are exhibitions, so it’s a good time for the team to get a feel for their strengths and weaknesses and get prepared for conference play to begin Tuesday against Legacy.

“We are a young team, but we do have a lot of experience together,” Egge said. “We know each other and we know how everyone works and what they do best. Our goals are obviously to get our third straight WDA title and repeat the state championship.”