Haya Dodin didn’t have much of an offseason this year.
Not that she’s complaining about it.
The Eau Claire Memorial junior was wrapping up a runner-up finish at the state tournament about three months ago. Except it wasn’t in Wisconsin.
Dodin was North Dakota’s girls tennis state runner-up this spring, and has since transferred to Memorial. After a summer break in which she spent plenty of time with a racket in her hand, the junior is already back to playing high school tennis just a few months after her last season ended. She moved to Eau Claire shortly before tryouts begin in early August.
“It was pretty difficult, because I didn’t know anyone,” Dodin said of her being the new girl on the team. “But the girls are really nice and really welcoming, so it wasn’t too bad.”
She moved to town because her father took a job in the area. Throughout the summer and ever since the move, she’s been playing tennis. That’s the way she likes it.
“I love the sport of tennis. It’s a great time, especially with the girls out here,” Dodin said.
Her addition has been a big boost to an already-talented Old Abes team. Memorial has rotated between Dodin, Sierra Auleta and Isy Thapar at No. 1 singles this year. The Abes feel they’ve got solid depth, particularly in singles.
“That’s why we’re doing it,” said Memorial coach Jim Litscher of the singles rotation, referencing that depth. “We haven’t done it all that often, but this year we almost had to because they’re all so close (ability-wise).”
The team’s depth showed in a 7-0 dual victory over Eau Claire North on Thursday. The Huskies gave their toughest battle in No. 1 doubles, at which Memorial’s Madison Etzel and Mary Obias edged North’s veteran seniors Anna Kent and Sydnie Steinmetz, 6-3, 6-4.
“It’s always great to have a team of seniors that have played with each other for a while,” North coach Vinnie Gorski said of his No. 1 doubles team, which went to the state tournament last year. “They’re really good friends, so they know each other’s tendencies on the court.”
Memorial was strong in the dual’s other matches, never dropping more than one game in any other set.
For Dodin’s part, she picked up a 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 1 singles.
“I’m hoping for a good rest of the season, I’m really excited for what’s to come,” she said.
Dodin said she’s noticed a bit of a step up in the level of competition coming to Wisconsin from North Dakota, but nothing too drastic. Given her success in her previous state, she figures to fit right in here in the Badger State.
“When someone moves in, you never know exactly what you’re going to get,” Litscher said. “I knew she was good. I think what she’s really added is that she’s a really good teammate.”
Despite the loss on Thursday, Gorski feels good about where his North squad is at to start the season.
“I’m really happy with how the season’s gone so far,” he said. “We graduated a lot of girls last year, and a lot of girls have stepped up from JV into really great roles. They’re all doing fantastic.”