Posting a 20-4 record during the 2017 season, St. James Area girls tennis had plenty to celebrate during their awards banquet on November 5th. In addition to winning tournaments and pacing the West Division for the Big South Conference, the Saints came within a point of a trip to State.

Head Coach Les Zellmann pointed to team improvement as a key to a successful season that included knocking on the door to State.

“We improved a lot to get to the position to be in the finals,” said Zellmann. “The finals match was closely contested. Knowing where we were at the start of the season, we made some very nice improvements to get to a very competitive level.”

The Section 3A tourney started with a 6-1 victory over River Valley, followed by a 4-3 triumph over Maple River, and ended with the 4-3 score in favor of Blue Earth Area in the finals. Prior to that SJA gained a share of the BSC West Division and captured three championships during tournaments hosted in St. James. Individually, Renata Hernandez and Hannah Loewen were leaders and the Saints placed five different players on All-Conference teams. “Players improved incrementally during the season,” said Zellmann. “Renata Hernandez made her mark as a top-level singles player.”

For the full story pick up your print edition of the 11-9 Plaindealer